A journey started nearly 40 years ago of CT Renganathan, a young boy with infinite dreams and vivid eyes that held the perseverance to break away from stereotypes. At the early age of 13, the day would start at 5:30 am in a 1 BHK in a remote suburb in Madurai housing a family of 9. The youngster would wake up to a list of chores longer than the number of hours in a day. Such moments coated the layer of accountability and prioritization in today’s MD of RPG Life Sciences who ensured his mischievous childhood was not lost in the midst of responsibilities to his family. After cleverly stirring up chaos at school, the lad’s evening would be an amalgamation of babysitting the youngest of the kin and playing cricket. Sometimes the difference was almost seamless where the youngster would be seen running energetically between wickets holding a sibling in one hand and a bat in the other. In his perceivably less free time, the young chap would try his hand at organic gardening lauded for its bitter gourd and plantains.
In his mid teens, one could clearly spot the inquisitiveness in CT, who would observe workers at a nearby plough-manufacturing factory for their refined precision. In his mind, this sowed the seed for perseverance and hard work. In his late teens, weekdays would be spent cycling 10kms to and from school and juggling various household responsibilities. This was followed by late night studying under streetlights managing to secure minimal grades to pass.
With a passion for science and the diligence to achieve, CT began his undergraduate in chemistry. These years etched in him the strength to excel wherein a once bright student whose scores didn’t reflect the same had now become an exemplary go-getter as a freshman. Nicknamed “Systematic CT” in college, the young man was now aware of the consequences of rigor and astuteness.
A particular concurrence at this stage was the 1982 college trip organized at Glaxo India in Worli, Mumbai that seemed an extensive leap due to financial restrictions. Little did he know that this missed opportunity followed by a momentous career of 27 years and 11 promotions would place him as one of the three Vice Presidents of GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceutical’s commercial business later in 2009 and also as one of the 6 Vice Presidents of the Company’s Indian Management Team.
A gamut of roles from a Medical Representative in 1984 to roles of increased responsibility as Business Unit Manager, Marketing Director, Country Head for companies like Cipla Ltd., Eli Lilly India, Boston Scientific and GSK helped season RPGLS’ current MD. Whilst each company and grade posed its own variants of challenges, it ultimately polished every edge of today’s composed and self-taught leader who believes resilience is the key to success.
In 2015, as Executive Vice President of GSK; CT Renganathan chose the path less taken by shifting to an Indian company after nearly 2 decades with MNCs. This position involved leading a 1200 strong employee headcount diversified from manufacturing to marketing and simultaneously representing their triumphs and defeats in front of a board of directors and the media. The journey was not easy to step from a Rs. 3000 crore MNC to a Rs. 230 crore Indian pharmaceutical company, which was a modest portion of a much grander Rs. 18,000 crore conglomerate RPG Enterprises.
The constant trial of adding to the credibility of such a small company in the face of the enterprise was significant when compared to RPG’s elite companies such as the Rs. 5400 crore performers CEAT or the Rs. 8300 crore KEC. In 2016, CT Renganathan led RPGLS to their first ever award as the best performing RPG Company, which was analogous to Great Place to Work Institute (GTPW- sponsored by The Economic Times) nominating them as winners.
CT Renganathan took over RPG Life Sciences in 2015 when it was ranked no. 79 on AWACS’ list of top pharmaceutical companies in India with a share value of around Rs. 80 per unit and a market cap of Rs. 150 crore. The Company now proudly gleams of a share price of Rs. 455 (as of April, 2017) that peaked up to Rs. 519 (as of Jan, 2017) with a 5-fold increase in market cap of Rs. 752 crores in 2 years and ranked no 71 in Feb 17 .
A recent large-scale victory was the Company’s acquisition of 7 brands from Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries to strengthen the existing domestic portfolio. This included the addition of Romilast, Sildura, Nutrikit, some of which were a result of Sun Pharma’s previous acquisition of Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited in 2014.
Dedication and motivation to excel were qualities beaming in CT Renganathan as early as a year into his role as a Medical Representative. CT would spend his evenings after work shadowing retailers and pharmacists attempting to observe and understand the dynamics of the rapidly changing pharmaceutical industry, which led to his proficiency of knowing practically every brand and product sold in the market at the time.
In 1997, CT as Eli Lilly’s Oncology/Cardiovascular Product Manager successfully launched 2 divisions with dedicated teams for Gemcite and Reopro, which are now megabrands for the Company in India. This marked his first success as a leader, which successively jolted him to positions such as Marketing Director and Country Director including brief stints in Malaysia and Singapore between 2000-04.
After his overseas stint, CT returned to Eli Lilly India as the Marketing Director, managing the diverse portfolio with his major initiatives of revamping the Company’s core oncology and diabetology business. Subsequently, CT was appointed as Managing Director of Boston Scientific, a leading American manufacturer of cardiovascular and peripheral vascular devices. These 3 years gave him a glimpse of the medical device industry and also propelled him to become a leader of a larger organization such as GSK Pharma Ltd. in 2009. In GSK, CT as commercial head of specialty business lead a team of nearly 800 people. CT accelerated the 200+ crore business to a whopping 710 crores in 2015.
When asked about what motivates him, CT casually mentions, “The best is always yet to come”. With nearly 3 decades in the pharmaceutical industry, having grazed through the commercial hierarchy of various companies, RPGLS’ Managing Director is a composed, resilient and adventurous leader who urges his people to think no idea is bigger than them. When asked to cite his motivation, he states, “During difficult times, I tell myself and my team that if something were easy to achieve, our jobs would have become long redundant.” When asked what keeps his feet on the ground he says “I firmly believe no employee is indispensible. Therefore learning at every stage becomes indefinite to ensure your place in the ever competitive industry.”
As of 2016, after having romped up the performance of the company from Rs. 230 crores to 273 crores in under a year, the MD now proposes a vision of “1000 by 21”.
In a competitive industry, CT’s mantras are to leave no stone unturned when identifying opportunities and being bold enough to take risks at the right moment.