NEW DELHI: Starting as a management trainee at JM Finance back in 1983, VG Siddhartha has made his mark in a wide array of sectors such as investment banking, information technology, real estate and hospitality. However, the 58-year-old business tycoon, who went missing since Tuesday morning, is best known for making a fortune in coffee business.
Coming from a major family of coffee planters in Karnataka, who have been in the business for around 140 years, Siddhartha is credited with establishing the largest café chain in India — Café Coffee Day (CCD), which at present has over 1,700 outlets in India.
The first shop was opened in Bengaluru’s Brigade Road in 1996; after expanding rapidly in southern market, CCD opened more outlets in other parts of the country. Premium locations, unique furniture and its tag line ‘A lot can happen over a coffee’ made CCD popular among rich urban population.
Siddhartha, who inherited over 10,000 acres of coffee farms, made it big in the coffee business in the early 90s when he formed Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Company (now Coffee Day Global). In two years, it became the second largest exporter and later India’s largest exporter of green coffee.
While the world-class coffee brand brought him fame as the poster boy of success, in future years, it turned a headache of sorts for Siddhartha as debts mounted. The loss jumped from Rs 7.72 crore in FY09 to over Rs 150 crore in FY16. While CCD saw some recovery in recent years, total debt grew to Rs 6,500 crore.
Besides coffee, Siddhartha established successful businesses in IT and investment space. With success, controversies also surrounded the entrepreneur, whose father-in-law S M Krishna was former Karnataka chief minister. Siddhartha found himself in trouble when the I-T department raided 20 premises linked to him in 2017.