C Padmakumar is currently Chairman and Managing Director of Terumo Penpol Private Limited, the first Blood bag manufacturer in South Asia and India, and one of the pioneers of the medical device industry in India. The company which was founded in 1983 has grown from humble beginnings to one of the largest Blood Bag manufacturing sites in the world which supplies products to over 80 countries across the globe.
Born and raised in Kerala, on the southwest coast of India, he was exposed to the outside world through books and movies from an early age. After his Bachelor’s degree in Commerce, he did his MBA and joined Peninsula Polymers Limited (Penpol) straight from MBA school, a company which was founded by his elder brother, C Balagopal a year earlier. Padmakumar was the third employee of the fledgling company and started on the shop floor after his apprenticeship as a Project Executive during the period the factory was built and commissioned.
The company’s early struggles with technology adoption, manufacturing and marketing led to several near-death experiences for the business. Living through these difficult times hardened the young executive and helped mold him into an effective manager. Given the scarce resources of startups, Padmakumar gained all round exposure to the various functions in the company which include Project management, Production, Procurement, Quality, Sales, HR, Finance and general management.
He led the company’s foray into direct sales and marketing in 1994 and helped establish the company as the market leader in India. The company continues to enjoy a dominant leadership position with over 40% market share in a very competitive industry. The company’s emphasis on Quality and Customer Service have not changed in the past 30 years and remain the linchpin of the company’s strategy. The company also established a small but growing market in select global markets under his leadership.
Penpol entered into a strategic JV with Terumo Corporation of Japan, the world leader in Blood bags and the undisputed global quality leader in 1999.Padmakumar continued to lead the Operations and Commercial functions as Executive Director of Terumo Penpol from 1999 till 2014.During this period the Blood Bag factory expanded steadily until in November 2014 it reached its present size of 30 million Blood Bags per annum. This single factory caters to about 10% of the global demand for Blood Bags today. The relentless focus on Quality and Safety has paid off with loyal customers across the world buying regularly from the company.
The company has won national Export Awards every year from 1994 and is also the recipient of the Government of India’s National Award for Commercialisation of R&D in 1995. It has received numerous Safety awards and CSR awards over the years in recognition of its stringent safety standards and service to the community. After the acquisition of Caridian BCT, USA by Terumo in 2011,Terumo Penpol has functioned under the leadership of the newly formed Terumo BCT which manages the Global Blood Management business of Terumo. The company has continued to grow and expanded its footprint in India and global markets. Padmakumar has also championed the increasing investment of resources into India in manufacturing and I&D after taking over as Chairman and Managing Director in 2014.
A product of the Lawrence School, Lovedale and Loyola School, Trivandrum,his motto in life has been his old school motto of Never Give In. In his own words, he believes that it is the most practical and useful advice he has ever received. He is also a great admirer of Japanese manufacturing methods and swears by the Japanese principle of “Going to Gemba”. You will hear him talk about Gemba to the sales team, the production team, to R&D, Finance and HR. Having experienced the power of the principle, he is a strong evangelist for the practice.
Padmakumar has been a Rotarian for the past 30 years and is a keen supporter of animal welfare causes. He is a member of People for Animals and he and his wife, Sobita, care for rescued dogs at their house in Trivandrum. He is also a keen sportsman who enjoys his tennis and cricket and relaxes with music, friends, books and movies.
He believes that business has the power to do immense good for people and is proud of the contribution that his company makes to healthcare providers and ultimately to patients. Every high-quality blood bag supplied helps save lives.
After over 30 years of work he believes that he has only scratched the surface and that the best is yet to come. Padmakumar would like to see Terumo Penpol and Terumo BCT grow steadily in the service of patients and healthcare providers and be the most respected brand in the world in its industry.