Karan Adani on handling legacy pressure, advice from his father

Karan Adani, CEO of Adani Ports and SEZ Ltd (APSEZ), and the son of one of India’s most illustrious industrialists, Gautam Adani, Chairman, Adani Group, has found a way to handle the pressure better.

Karan Adani on handling legacy pressure, advice from his father

Wednesday May 18, 2022,

4 min Read

The Adanis are one of the most reputed industrialist families in India. However, big responsibilities are often accompanied by pressure. Karan Adani, CEO of Adani Ports and SEZ Ltd (APSEZ), and the son of one of the world’s richest men, Gautam Adani, Chairman and Founder, Adani Group, has found a way to handle the pressure better.

Speaking at the Amazon Smbhav Summit 2022, the second-generation entrepreneur spoke at length about his father, growth opportunities in India, and more.

“I think the expectation is high on how we do things better. How do we do it faster? How do we do it in a much different way than what was being done in the past? This is what keeps me awake at night and charges me up to live up to those expectations,” he said.

He also added that all leaders in the Adani Group “keep their feet on the ground” and “focus on delivery and execution”.

Gautam Adani’s advice

The Adani scion also revealed the three pieces of advice that his father gave him to manage the weight of the expectations.

The first is to always be on the ground. “You need to know the pulse of the ground-level situation. He says you should know what your truck driver is going through, what your operator is going through, what your customer is going through..,” he relayed.

Being on the ground also helps sense new opportunities, get insights and come up with new solutions, he added.

The second piece of advice is to keep things simple. “My father says that you should go directly to the root of the problem and not get diverted by too many complexities,” he added.

The last and perhaps most important is to “think at scale.” Karan said that according to senior Adani if one can’t think at scale, they cannot influence anything and would end up becoming someone’s follower.

“Think either at the state level, national level, or at a global level, but it has to be at a scale which allows you to influence the way things are being done, influence the way policies are being made, and change the game of the of the industry.”

He also said that his father is a very “curious” person. “He’s actually more curious than all of us. He’s thinking about what the world is moving towards? What are the young minds thinking about? Why are they thinking?”

Karan joined the Adani Group in 2009 and is responsible for leading the $25 billion logistics business of the Group. He is an economics graduate from Purdue University, US.

He added that while he may not be very great at giving advice, he urged young entrepreneurs “to do better than what earlier generation did.” Karan emphasised that the focus should be on uncovering newer layers of technology and thinking about relevant issues like climate change.

Amazon Smbhav 2022

Karan Adani at Amazon Smbhav Summit 2022

Growth opportunities in India

He further went on to talk about the logistics sector, and how logistics inflation can be tackled when the biggest cost in the industry came from fuel. He also said that fuel costs can be eliminated with electric vehicles that can be charged using solar panels.

Karan also highlighted that autonomous vehicle will bring the next level of disruption in the logistics sector. “After fuel, the driver is your second biggest cost.”

He also predicted that the day isn’t far when the cost of your hardware will be negligible.

Talking about the growth opportunities in India, Karan spoke about the importance of the Indian small and medium businesses in developing the economy and their role in Tier II and Tier III cities. “If they (SMBs) are not growing, India cannot grow,” he said.

Going forward, he emphasised that the focus should be on improving the physical as well as the technological infrastructure of Tier II and Tier III cities so that there is internet connectivity in every house in every village in India.

“I think that the growth opportunity that India will provide is nowhere else in the world,” he signed off.

Edited by Kanishk Singh