Wealth Creator: Thermax
Residence: Mumbai, Maharashtra
Hurun Ranking: #1965 Global Rich List
Self-made Score: 3
1942 - Birth Year
1985 - Joined Thermax
1991 - Head of HR, Thermax
1996 - Chairman of Thermax
2004 - Retired from Thermax
2008 - Co-founded Teach for India
2010 - Awarded Padma Shri
2012 - Nominated to Rajya Sabha
25 words: Indian businesswoman who led Thermax, an engineering company and a social worker, who is also keenly involved in the causes of education and human rights.
500 words: Born on 3 August 1942, in an upper middle-class Parsi family in Mumbai and raised along with her two brothers, Anu Aga went on to achieve greatness through her simplicity and modesty. She studied Economics at St. Xavier’s, Mumbai and later joined the prestigious Tata Institute of Social Sciences for her
Post Graduation in Medical and Psychiatric Social Work to follow her interests in Social Work and contributing goodness to the society. She was also a Fulbright Scholar and studied in the United States for four months. After completing her education, Anu worked in a Child Guidance Clinic and got married to Rohinton Aga, a graduate from Harvard Business School and gave birth to daughter Meher and son Kurush. In 1980, Rohinton Aga, succeeded Anu’s father in taking over Thermax as its Chairperson. Thermax was founded by Anu’s father, AS Bhathena in 1966 as Wanson (India) to provide engineering solutions and the company was renamed Thermax after he retired. The couple led a very happy family life until Rohinton Aga in his late 40’s suffered a massive attack and Anu was asked to get involved in the workings of Thermax while her husband was recovering.
In 1985, she started her career in Thermax and later took charge of the Human Resources Department and headed the Human Resources division from 1991-1996 with focus on building the brand image and also growing the business while keeping her employees happy.
In 1996, Rohinton suffered a fatal heart attack and very soon, Anu Aga had to take over Thermax as its Chairman. In a very short span of 14 months, before even Anu could get accustomed to her husband’s death, she lost her 25 year old son, Kurush, in a car accident. She retired from Thermax as its Chairman in 2004 and she was succeeded by her daughter and company vice-chairman, Meher Pudumjee, a post graduate in chemical engineering from the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London who had joined Thermax in 1990. Anu has since remained on the Company’s Board of directors and got involved with what she was always passionate about – Social Work. After retiring from Thermax, she got actively involved in social work, primarily in the education for the under privileged, and in 2010, she was awarded the Padma Shri for Social Work by the Government of India.
Aga cofounded Teach for India in 2008 and is currently its Chairperson. She was also nominated to Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Indian Parliament on 26 April 2012, by President Pratibha Patil. Anu Aga discovered Akanksha, a Foundation that started in 1990, which is a non-profit organization that educates less privileged children from Mumbai’s slum areas and provides them with vocational opportunities. Anu got involved with Akanksha’s activities and also gave them space to work out of Thermax office premises in Pune. She is also closely associated with the Thermax Social Initiative Foundation (TSIS) and the foundation in partnership with municipal corporations and Akanksha, manages two schools for lower income groups.