Divi Murali, Managing Director, Divis Laboratories, an MCOPSean on Forbes List
September 19, 2015
Divi Murali, Chairman and Managing Director, Divis Laboratories, an MCOPSean on Forbes List
Hardships during education
I studied PUC in Hindu high school in Machilipatnam. I did not excel much in my studies. So the hope of reaching heights in life was definitely an ironical thought. My family had the same thought I guess. So they sent me to my brother who was then studying in MIT, Manipal Academy of Higher Education. This was a turning point in my life. I joined the Bachelor of Pharmacy course in College of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Being in an International University, there were many students from different parts of the world who were rich and had enough to spend. But, my condition was very difficult and different. Every penny I received for my studies was with extreme hardwork of my father and my other siblings. This was when I realized that my efforts can pay off all the difficulties my family was facing. At the end of my bachelor's, I was the gold medallist of the university. To add to the best, I could also complete my masters with a gold medal from the University and was awarded as the "Best student of the tenure". After my post-graduation, in search of job I came to Hyderabad. My career started with a pay of ₹250 at Warners Hindustan Company.
During those times, there was a heavy demand for pharmacists in the United States. As it was quite easy to get an American visa then for the registered pharmacists, I tried my luck to get a visa to go America. Being a gold medallist in the university, it was not very difficult to get it. Soon they also granted me a green card. But after the visa approval it took me 9 months to go to America. With an amount of $7 which was the maximum given by the foreign exchange, I started off my journey to America with my wife and son during 1976-77. I worked as chemist in San Antonio, Texas. Later, I became the superintendent of a cosmetic pharmaceutical plant. Climbing each step, I became the vice president and eventually the director of the company. My salary went up to six thousand five hundred thousand dollars per month (approximately 4 and half lakhs). While driving off the work, there was a thought that struck me. Why do I have to work so far away from my family and country? I was missing India and I wanted to return. My wife supported me and we returned to India.
Along with Dr Anji Reddy
After returning, I had no idea of what to do and neither had so much money. The knowledge I acquired being a chemist in America was my biggest asset. I met Dr Reddy’s founder, Dr Anji Reddy. We planned to start a company in India. In a joint collaboration with him, I bought the 'Keminar' Company and further invested on it to make it one of the leading manufacturing companies in the country. The journey was not easy. However, courage, and with the motto of 'survival of the fittest' we became one of the few business leaders then. We opened up many plants in Andhra Pradesh to meet the demands within the country. With that experience and with the desire of starting my own company I started "Divi's laboratories" in Hyderabad in 1990.
We are number one
For four years, I worked in R&D. Eventually, I started the manufacturing sector. As time passed, growth propelled, we became number one in the manufacturing sector in the world. Started with around 100 employees, it gradually rose to 10000. In 2002, we opened another plant in Chippada (near Visakhapatnam). Now, it is the leading API Company in the world.
I consider being down to earth as one of my key factors to success. I strived for existence when I left for the United States. It was the same when I returned to India for another phase of my career. To start the industry, to keep up the standard and to excel growth and progress in it was not at all easy. It took years of hard work and determination. I remember someone asking me what would happen to the company when I retire. I love working. Retirement is for jobs, not for something I love so much and cannot imagine my life without!”