Billionaire By Chance, Businessman By Choice
An Intriguing Story Of Mr. P N C Menon, Chairman Emeritus Of Sobha GroupApril 8, 2017
The man began his journey with just Rs 50 in his pocket. He lands in Muscat with almost no money, ends up building an interior designing firm and the rest is history. He is in the Forbes list of richest individuals, with a personal net worth of about $1.64 billion and group’s revenues sailing at about Rs. 25 billion.
Mr. Menon lost his father at the tender age of 10, instilling in him a sense of direction and responsibility from the very beginning. In just his second year of college he had the courage to drop-out and travel to a foreign land to pursue his passion for interiors.
The firm which he set up along with a retired Brigadier- Sulaiman Al Adwai in 1977, flourished on the heels of the new rich class in Oman and eventually went on to design the palaces of Sultans of Oman and Brunei.Within years, the business grew to incorporate construction and real estate and spread throughout the Middle East,giving him wings to emulate his success story in India.
Finally in 1995, Mr. Menon foresaw great opportunity in Indian real estate market and set up Sobha Developers in Bangalore. Impervious to how the Indian system worked and due to the unorganized state of the Indian real estate industry, Mr. Menon had to work hard to ensure total transparency in operations and bring professional management into his enterprise.
Straight into operations and Sobha becomes the first Indian real estate company to obtain ISO 9001 certification- worlds most recognized certification for Quality Management System. “There is always a process of doing things” as Mr. Menon says, and the process soon started paying off with Sobha delivering their first project in Bangalore (Sobha Sapphire) within two years of its launch.
Sobha’s big success came when they ended up developing corporate blocks and campuses for Infosys all around the country. The complement came directly from Mr. N.R Narayana Murthy “probably the finest builder that India has seen in the last 100 years”.The company has never looked back since then. In the years that followed, Sobha went on to build over 396 projects covering 84 million sq. ft. area in over 25 cities across India.
It’s been more than 20 years since Sobha setup in India and Mr. Menon personally has over 47 years of experience in real estate, but he doesn’t seem to have a retirement plan. “I will retire only in two ways-one is if I’m not alive, and second, if I’m not able to move”, as he says in his latest interview with the Forbes Magazine.
His obsession with quality and commitment to social upliftment makes him one of the most revered names in the industry. He has pledged half his wealth to charity and increasingly contemplates new ways to make an impact to the society.
For all his gestures towards industry and the society, he has been honored with laurels like ‘Lifetime Achievement Award for Real Estate’ by NDTV in 2013 and ‘Golden Peacock Lifetime Achievement Award for Business Leadership’ by the Institute of Directors (IOD) in 2014.