Nusli Wadia Success Story: Chairman of the Oldest Indian Conglomerate - The Wadia Group

Manav Makhija Manav Makhija
Dec 17, 2021 6 min read
Nusli Wadia Success Story: Chairman of the Oldest Indian Conglomerate - The Wadia Group

India has given rise to many billionaires who now hold a major number of positions on the list of the world's wealthiest people. India, behind the United States and China, has the third-highest number of billionaires in the world, according to Forbes magazine.

India has surpassed Germany (136 billionaires) to take third place in the list of countries with the most billionaires in 2021, according to Forbes. Well, there is one such infamous wealthy family in India, who isn’t much talked about, but plays a significant role in the Indian business sector. They are the Wadia Group.

Mr Nusli Wadia, the chairman of Wadia Group and principal owner of Bombay Dyeing, a large Indian textile company, is regarded as one of the most astute business people in the industry. If you want to know more about this great businessman read this article.


Name Nusli Wadia
Qualification PhD in Chemical Engineering
College University of Florida, U.S.A
Profession Entrepreneur
Father Neville Wadia
Mother Dina Jinnah
Spouse Maureen Wadia
Birthplace Mumbai, Maharashtra
Born 15 October, 1994
Position Chairman of Wadia Group

About Nusli Wadia
How Nusli Wadia Kept Bombay Dyeing Afloat
Nusli Wadia's Dream of Acquiring Britannia
How Nusli Wadia and Ratan Tata went from Friends to Foes

About Nusli Wadia

Bombay Dyeing, a well-known Indian textile company, is led by Mr Nusli Wadia, who is also the majority stakeholder. The Indian Parsi businessman is the son of Neville and Dina Wadia and the grandson of Pakistan's founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The Wadia Group, which has significant real estate holdings across Mumbai, is valued at $4.1 billion and possesses one of the city's largest land banks.

Wadia, although being connected to Jinnah, had a complicated past. He was born a Christian but subsequently converted to Zoroastrianism to dwell among Mumbai's industrially prosperous Parsi community. He has completed his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Florida in the United States. Nusli was sent to a public school in England (Rugby) for his schooling, where he was a bit of a failure by all accounts.

Nusli Wadia's Sons

Nusli's sons are Ness and Jehangir Wadia. Ness Wadia oversees the IPL team Kings XI Punjab.

Ness Wadia
Ness Wadia

Jeh Wadia founded GoAir (now GoFirst) in 2005, at a time when the market was dominated by Air India, Air Asia, SpiceJet, Kingfisher, and other major airlines.

Jehangir Wadia - GoAir
Jehangir Wadia

Nonetheless, GoAir's joint management team of Nusli and Jeh Wadia was able to establish a brand for the airline through low rates, effective operations, and smart development.

How Nusli Wadia Kept Bombay Dyeing Afloat?

When Neville Wadia tried to sell Bombay Dyeing to the Goenkas from Kolkata in 1971, Nusli stood in his way. To derail the purchase, he persuaded employees to acquire stock in the firm and keep it afloat. The textile behemoth was kept as a result of this action, and Nusli Wadia was able to demonstrate his commercial acumen by increasing the worth of the company. As a result, he became Chairman of Bombay Dyeing, succeeding his father.

Mr Wadia has been Chairman of the Bombay Dyeing since 1977. He has been Chairman of the Board of Bombay Burmah Trading Corp. Ltd. since July 27, 1982, and a Director since October 28, 1980.

He was a member of the Prime Minister's Council on Trade and Industry in 1998, 1999, and 2000. He was the Convener of the Special Group Task Force on Food and Agro Industries Management Policy in September 1998. Β He was a member of the Special Subject Group on Disinvestment and the Special Subject Group on Reviewing Regulations and Procedures to Unbind Indian Industry.

The Wadias are one of India's most prominent business dynasties. They have always prided themselves on doing business honestly, never paying bribes, and never dealing in black money.

In the late 1970s, Bombay Dyeing was still India's largest and best textile company. That wasn't the one, though, that everyone was talking about. The 'Polyester War,' as the battle between Wadia and Ambani was dubbed, became part of corporate lore. It was a fight that included not only the two of them but also several politicians, including then-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and his Finance Minister V P Singh, as well as two news organizations, the Indian Express and the Observer.

For two years, Wadia was held in the courts. His passport was taken, and a deportation order was issued. Wadia was found not guilty after 42 court hearings and 2,500 pages of interrogation.

For Mr Wadia, the 1990s were a pivotal decade. He was no longer a major source of concern for the Ambanis; they had simply outgrown him. Wadia needed to show that he knew how to operate a business.

Nusli Wadia's Long Awaited Dream of Taking Over Britannia

Nusli had a long desire to engage in the biscuit sector and had agreed to take over Britannia in India with Huntley and Palmer. While Nusli met with Nabisco officials through his friend (and cashew firm partner), Rajan Pillai, and looked to have secured an agreement in which he would still be allowed to purchase Britannia, the Americans eventually changed their minds. Rajan Pillai was named chairman, and Britannia was maintained.

Pillai teamed up with Danone, a French business, but the two swiftly fell out, with Danone accusing Pillai of being dishonest. Nusli came in as Danone's new Indian partner to fill the vacancy.

After a protracted judicial and public battle, Pillai was removed, and Wadia finally got his heart's desire: The Control of Britannia. Mr Wadia has been named Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Britannia Industries Limited. He joined Britannia Industries Limited's board of directors on September 5, 1993, and has been Chairman since.

How Nusli Wadia and Ratan Tata went from friends to foes

Ratan Tata with Nusli Wadia
Ratan Tata with Nusli Wadia

Ratan Tata and Nusli Wadia have a personal connection that goes beyond business. Nusli served as a mentor for Ratan Tata in addition to being childhood pals. As a result, people were taken aback when they learned that Nusli had brought a defamation suit against the Tata Group and Ratan Tata.

All of this began when Wadia chose Mistry over Tata for the position of Tata Group chairman. As a result, he was sacked as a Tata Motors independent director.

He subsequently dropped the case, but only after receiving notification from India's Supreme Court. He also gave up the Rs. 3000 crore he would have gotten if he had won by settling.

History of Business in India and Greatest Businessmen of Decades
The roots of business in India can be traced back to the times when it was referred to as the β€˜golden bird’. Let us see the complete story behind the topic i.e. History of Business in India and Greatest Businessmen of Decades.


The epitome of a workaholic Mr Wadia is a firm believer in living a simple life. He is believed to do a lot of his cooking, and despite spending a lot of time in London, he enjoys vacationing in Goa. Cricket is his main interest, and he rarely remarks, either literally or symbolically.


What is the net worth of Nusli Wadia?

The net worth of Nusli Wadia is 370 crores USD.

What companies does Wadia Group own?

Wadia Group owns, Go First Britannia Industries, Bombay Dyeing, Bombay Realty, Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation, National Peroxide, and Wadia Techno-Engineering.

What is the business of Ness Wadia?

Ness Wadia is the Managing Director of Bombay Burmah Trading Company Limited and Chairman of National Peroxide Limited.

Must have tools for startups - Recommended by StartupTalky

Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to StartupTalky.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to StartupTalky.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.