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Brick by brick, Pirojsha changed the realty game at Godrej
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Brick by brick, Pirojsha changed the realty game at Godrej
Publish on : 2024-05-07 13:21:18
Pirojsha Godrej's strategic leadership at Godrej Properties during the global financial crisis led to innovative approaches like joint developments and a capital-lite model. His focus on efficiency and immediate project launches propels the company's growth. Pirojsha Godrej was fresh off the B-school in Columbia University when he assumed the mantle of executive director (ED) at Godrej Properties, the real estate development arm of the century-old business conglomerate. It was 2008, a year marked by the global financial crisis, and demand was at its nadir. The Indian real estate sector was grappling with the challenge of trust deficit as funds had dried up and many housing projects got delayed. Homebuyers were a troubled lot in the backdrop of financial and business uncertainties. The young Godrej scion, then all of 28, set upon on a path to fortify and expand Godrej Properties in a methodical way, which was to become a hallmark of his leadership style. In fact, methodical is a word one often hears when those who worked with him recall their experience. Senior executives who have directly worked with Pirojsha said that his approach to work was highly analytical. Pirojsha’s decision-making is based on data and feedback. Many felt his interpersonal skills were exceptional. Under him, the company became one of the first Indian realty firms to adopt a capital-lite business model of alliances. “The strategy was to grow through joint developments and development management agreements rather than conventional land banking model. And it worked,” said a leading realty developer that competed for two Mumbai projects with the company a few years ago. So, on Tuesday, when the group laid out a succession plan that will see Adi Godrej’s son succeed Nadir Godrej as chairperson of Godrej Industries in August 2026, veteran Godrej watchers were not surprised. Pirojsha immediately moves into the role of executive vice-chairperson of Godrej Industries Group. “Real estate industry is expected to change in times to come, with Millennials and Gen-Z dominating the consumer segment. A young leader like Pirojsha is perfectly suited to relate with the changing consumer preferences and lead Godrej Properties right to the podium finish in the industry,” said Shishir Baijal, chairman and managing director (MD), of Knight Frank India that has collaborated with Godrej Properties on several projects. Gaurav Pandey, MD & chief executive officer, Godrej Properties, highlighted Pirojsha’s commitment towards employees and worker welfare. “When the pandemic paralysed industry operations, he ensured that Godrej Properties did not reduce focus on labour welfare and initiated labour-intensive plans and benefits such as medical, rations, and timely payments to fulfil their obligations. Close to 25,000 workers were provided with vaccination, meals, and sanitised living conditions through the lockdown,” he said. Prior to his B-school stint, Pirojsha had earned his spurs at Godrej Properties, pushing the company’s footprint from two cities to 10 by 2008. After becoming the executive director, he decided to take the company public in 2010 raising $100 million. It wasn’t exactly a cakewalk after Pirojsha was appointed as Godrej Properties’ CEO in 2012. At the time, the company lacked sufficient scale and project diversity, falling short of being recognised among the nation’s top developers. Almost a decade ago, Pirojsha had roped in an international consultant to work on an assignment to make the company more efficient and effective. He optimised the portfolio by trimming projects that were capital-intensive and the emphasis shifted towards acquiring projects that promise higher returns and improved risk management. Godrej Properties is likely to surpass its business development guidance of Rs 15,000 crore for the financial year 2023-24. The developer is keen on acquiring new projects that can be launched as soon as possible rather than just picking up land parcels to beef up the portfolio. “… Our whole idea has been to do business development for projects that we plan to develop immediately. In that sense, we are not using a typical model of land banking or keeping land for later development, etc,” Pirojsha had told ET in February. Pirojsha has set up a strong foundation, now he has the opportunity and the resources to build on that

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