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A Turnaround Master: Dr Rashmi Saluja For restructuring the company and reviving the Religare Group, Dr, Saluja along with other board members came up with 'Religare 2.0'- the blueprint to carry the Religare Group from negative territory into ground zero and from there, into the positive growth zone.

By Priya Kapoor

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Dr Rashmi Saluja, Executive Chairperson, Religare Enterprises

Dr. Rashmi Saluja was part of Religare's board of directors when things fell apart for the Group in 2018. Sensing a strong sense of responsibility towards the group, which was one of the big names in India's financial sector back then, she took up the challenge of re-establishing the brand. In 2018, the shareholders constituted a new board and entrusted her with the responsibility of leading the group and consequently took over the reigns as the Executive chairperson, Religare Enterprises Ltd (REL) & Chairperson & Managing Director of Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL) and Non- Executive Chairperson of other companies. "Now, when I look back, I feel perhaps it was preordained," says Dr. Saluja.

For restructuring the company and reviving the Religare Group, Dr, Saluja along with other board members came up with 'Religare 2.0'- the blueprint to carry the Religare Group from negative territory into ground zero and from there, into the positive growth zone. It was built around the pillars of sound corporate governance, robust business models, efficient capital planning and a sustainable and responsible growth philosophy. Her focused efforts along with other members has started showing significant results. Last year in December, the group entered into a one-time settlement (OTS) with its lenders to clear the dues. "The group has paid 100% of the amount under the OTS. Besides this, we have successfully carried out a strategic rebranding exercise for our health insurance business, which now goes by the brand name of Care Health Insurance," says Dr.Saluja.

Women are great multi-taskers, an innate quality
of entrepreneurs who juggle between personal and professional life in a balanced manner.

Religare Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited (RHDFCL), the affordable housing finance business, has stayed profitable throughout the difficult period. Religare Broking Limited (RBL), the Retail Broking subsidiary, is also running profitable operations and has displayed significant improvement in its valuation. "It gives me immense satisfaction to see Religare 2.0 taking shape. We have finally got our feet firmly planted on the ground and are ready to take a big leap towards growth," says Dr. Saluja But reviving the group wasn't easy. When Dr. Saluja took over the reins of Religare, the confidence of all the stakeholders was at the lowest. "People on the inside, including me, saw that Religare had business potential but we faced immense resistance when trying to convince various stakeholders about the same," says Dr. Saluja.

The current period is one of the most satisfying periods of her career, according to Dr. Saluja. "From the initial days of building the company from scratch, to now when we are witnessing Religare 2.0 taking concrete shape, it has been nothing short of an achievement. Many observers had written us off, but we have risen like a phoenix."

Going forward, the company aims to become a 360 degree financial services company with increased focus on its subsidiaries, besides expansion of its health insurance offerings. The RFL and RHDFC businesses are undergoing digital transformation which will take them on the path of rapid growth.

For Dr. Saluja, this is the best time to be an entrepreneur. "The opportunities are immense. Perhaps, as a woman entrepreneur, one may face challenges when convincing people that she is here to stay. However, one has to persevere and persist. Women are great multi-taskers, an innate quality of entrepreneurs who juggle between personal and professional life in a balanced manner," says Dr. Saluja.

Priya Kapoor

Former Feature Editor

Priya holds more than a decade of experience in journalism. She has worked on various beats and was chosen as a Road Safety Fellow in 2018, wherein she produced many in-depth & insightful features on road crashes in India. She writes on startups, personal finance and Web3. Outside of work, she likes gardening, driving and reading. 

 

 

 

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