V.G. Siddhartha, Café Coffee Day's fortunes and the story behind it all

V.G. Siddhartha, a billionaire who kept media at bay

Mr. V.G. Siddhartha, chairman, Coffee Day Enterprises Limited.

Mr. V.G. Siddhartha, chairman, Coffee Day Enterprises Limited.   | Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji

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Getting news out of this ‘thorough gentleman’ was difficult

He may be a coffee baron, but V. G. Siddhartha, the home-grown billionaire-cum-planter-entrepreneur, has always perfected the art of keeping the media at bay.

Not for long. Four months ago, the news of Mr. Siddhartha selling his stake in IT company Mindtree to L&T thrust him into headlines. Soon followed Coca Cola’s quest for CCD.

“He’s a humble and simple person. A genuine human being. I have known him closely for over the last over two decades. He looked and spoke absolutely fine when I met him some days ago. He never looked as though he was hiding so much stress that he would do something like this,’’ said Anand Adkoli, a former techie, entrepreneur, currently a farmer and also son-in-law of former Chief Minister Veerappa Moily.

 

Another person who knew Mr. Siddhartha closely but did not want to be identified said: “V.G. is the only guy I know with zero ego. He’s a teetotaller, no bad habits and a through gentleman. It is sad if he valued his self-esteem more than his life.’’

Meeting the businessman was not so tough but getting the news out of him was indeed difficult. The coffee baron had promised this correspondent a detailed meeting ‘later.’ Now, I wonder, if he’s left me with a big fat story that I never wanted to write!

The stock excuse was always something like, “I am a poor guy, or may be next time. Good that we chatted and had coffee together.’’

During one informal meeting at the height of the news of selling his stake in Mindtree, all that Mr. Siddhartha would say was, “Business environment has changed. It is getting tougher for small guys like me.’’

In another talk in late June, he had tried to make light of the Coca-Cola’s interest in his enterprise. “Nothing is happening. I am learning new things about my company and of Coco-Cola from the media.’’

Mr. Siddhartha always thought big, took risks and chased valuations.

V.G. Siddhartha's and Café Coffee Day's journey through the years

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 9:07:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/a-billionaire-who-kept-media-at-bay/article28762938.ece

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