Anu Aga of Thermax India Awarded the Padma Shri

Anu Aga, the ex-Chairman of Thermax India has been awarded the Padma Shri.

Her name featured on the list of awardees announced by the Government on the occasion of Republic Day 2010.

Here is a short excerpt from a 2005 article on Arnavaz Aga

Aga is always in her trademark cotton or silk saris, whether it’s for a talk on women achievers at a convention organised by the Indian Institute of Management (Kolkata), for the pages of the November issue in Business Today as part of the top 25 most powerful women in business, or while accepting the lifetime achievement award at the Financial Express-Electrolux Women in Business Awards, as she did last year. Just like the sari, the no-nonsense expression on her face, reflecting steely determination, is an intrinsic part of her.

This calm determination has helped her family and company Thermax India tide over trying times. The death of her husband Rohinton in 1996 from a heart attack thrust her into the chairperson’s role of Thermax, an engineering company that was begun by her father A S Bathena three decades ago and later managed by Rohinton. Just as Aga, till then director of human resources, was finding her feet as the head of Thermax, she suffered another deep loss – the death of her 25-year-old son Kurush in a road accident.

At the time, Thermax’s growth curve dipped and share prices plummeted from Rs 400 to Rs 36. An anonymous letter from a shareholder accusing her of letting him down forced her to take stock of the situation. “I realised I wasn’t capable but was only pretending to run the business,” she says. Losing no time, she detached herself from day-to-day operations and brought in a foreign consultant to restructure the company – the move revived its fortunes.

Since its turnaround, Thermax, with its presence in 14 countries, has emerged as a leading manufacturer of engineering products and systems for industries. “Despite stiff challenges at work and crises at home, she succeeded in separating her ownership and professional responsibilities, so crucial in the leadership of a closely held family enterprise,” recalls P M Kumar, former head of human resources, under whom Aga had trained in the 1980s.

Continue reading the entire article here.

  • Jini Heller

    Wonderful and remarkable woman. A Padma Shree well deserved.


    Respected Auji

    my hearty congratulations to you for THE PADMA SHRI bestoved on you.
    madam i am fortunate that i had seen you in sadhuwaswani school pune at the time of book release by dada j.p.waswani few years break along with other distinguised personalities like shri masehelkar[scientist]hiranandani[builder]shri kalyani [bharat forge]and shri boman irani.
    i am frotrunate that i have seen you all in real life.
    may God bless your every endeavour.

  • Sheraz Bhesania

    Dear Anu:
    CONGRATULATIONS on The Padma Shris award bestowed on you by India. Nobody deserves it more than you after all that life has brought your way. I am so proud to say to all that Anu and I were in school together at Vatcha Wadia in our young happy days. Glad to have met you in Poona when we were there in 2000 along with Homi Daruwalla. No if, and or buts the next time you are in Vancouver to give me a call at 604-732-9953. Love & God Bless
    Sheraz Bhesania (nee Jokhy)

  • Narendra Wagh

    Respected Madam Anu Aga (AAA)

    My Hearty congratulations to you for the Padmashri Award bestowed on you on the auspicious Republic day of India…

    I have always tried to know about you, your work and your acheivements as my passion to know what makes the Great Leaders great…

    I have also known Thermex as a people focused company and had been keen to know what made your company to stand out amongst others in this respect..

    I have had opportunity to talk to your few of the business leaders Prakash Kulkarni, Unnikrishnan, Prashant Ahir including Meher Padumjee… This further reinforced my impressions about your great company and the select team of great people you have been working with…

    I also came across your speech on CSR in the times this activity was becoming to be a band wagon for corporates and was thrilled to read your crystallized thoughts which speak not only for your deep and diverse knowledge but your passion towards social cause with people being its centerpiece… and certainly goes beyond normal publicity stunt oriented CSR in which many of the organizations indulge in…

    I am, though not that big one to acknowledge but dare to do so with humility and express my deepest gratitude to your contribution to society and business in many cases as a trend setter… And importantly you could achieve all this despite adversities of highest order that too in series that is the loss of two beloved family members in your personal life which a character of your stature only could stand up to..

    I may want to see you personally in near future to hear you from near… of course based on your convenience though this just a request..

    My best Wishes to you for very long happy and healthy life…

    With regards,

    Narendra Wagh

  • Aban Jussawalla

    Congratulations our dear Annu. I am your ex-neighbour Aban(Press) who along with your other friends in Ramesh Baug and Dadar Parsi Coloney remember you and your darling personality, always mild, gentle and kind with a sweet smile! We wish you a Bright Future Ahead. Love You.

  • Religious but Rational

    If I can recollect correctly, in the first meeting of AFP Ms. Aga addressed the gathering and honestly stated her reason for not standing as a candidate for Trusteeship. i.e. she was not a practicing Zoroastrian.
    Now, Aban people like you with double standards will praise this gentle lady sky high.

  • aban jussawalla

    Yes she is a gentle lady and very much deserves to be praised sky high,but why have you tried to hide your identity? I do not have a narrow view about our religion, inspite of appreciating those that follow the religion properly. A person can never be judged only from the religious point of view.

  • Religious but Rational.

    In English language there is a word MONIKER. Refer to the dictionary.
    Your BROAD VIEW on religion is evident from your other post under the subject of Jam E Jamshed Return to the Fold.

  • Religious but Rational

    In English there is a word called Moniker. Read the dictionary to find out its meaning.
    Your BROAD views on Religion are evident from your other post under the subject of Jame Returning to Fold

  • Fali K. Madon

    Congratulations to Mrs. Anu Aga on receiving The Padma Shri. A very well-respected and sweet lady, always ready to help all in need. May God Bless u.

  • Arnavaz

    Dear Ms. Aga,

    Heartiest congratulations to you.

    This makes me feel even prouder that i am a Parsi and i love our relegion.

    All the very best.

    Arnavaz Baria

  • Parvin Tarafdar

    Type your comment here…Congratulation to Padmashree Mrs Anu Aga & family.
    We are proud of you and such couragious women of India and world, who have these qualities of visionary & great Leadership skills,empathy and humanity that leads to excellance. You make our Parsi community very Proud.
    we have earlier met in our beloved Friends Padmashree Lila Poonawalla Foundation programs. Hope you recollect…

    Heartiest Best Wishes
    Parvin Tarafdar
    Tata Technologies Ltd. Pune

  • Parizaad

    Congratulations Anu, you make us (Parsis) so proud!
    Continue the good work…

  • bandra boy

    Congrats,Arnavaz-keep up the good work
    Shalom, Jackie

  • Mbs

    I congratulate Mrs.Anu Aga on getting Padma Shri.She truly deserves this award and I am proud to have worked with her & Mr Aga in Thermax,Delhi/Nairobi from 1982-92.Her humble nature is worth mentioning.Wonderful family.

    Mohan Bir Singh

  • Mbs

    I congratulate Mrs.Anu Aga on getting Padma Shri.She truly deserves this award and I am proud to have worked with her & Mr Aga in Thermax,Delhi/Nairobi from 1982-92.Her humble nature is worth mentioning.Wonderful family.

    Mohan Bir Singh

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