Dr. Parvinder Singh is one of the most revered personalities of the Indian pharmaceutical industry. He made an immense contribution to the Indian pharmaceutical industry. His bold new ideas made him an ideal Sikh role model in the modern world.

Parvinder Singh was born in 1943. He received his early education (1954-1959) at Doon School, Dehra Dun, India. Later, he went to the Washington State University from where he obtained a Master’s degree in Pharmacy. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Michigan. This was in the year 1967. Parvinder Singh became Dr. Parvinder Singh.

    Meanwhile in 1966, Parvinder Singh’s father Bhai Mohan Singh had bought the pharmaceutical company, Ranbaxy. Dr. Singh joined the company in 1967. At the time, most of the pharmaceutical companies were simply manufacturing drugs that were already in the market. There was lack of product patents in India. A closed market structure enabled Indian companies to manufacture existing drugs and reap profits.

    However, Dr. Singh had a vision and foresight that companies must engage in research if they are to succeed in the long run. He formed the first pool of research scientists. Ranbaxy was transformed from a simple Process based drug company into a true research based company. This changed the mindset of the government and other Indian companies. They were now less inclined to oppose the international Patents regime. They started developing new research capabilities to take advantage of India's brainpower.

    Dr. Singh was appointed the Joint Managing Director of Ranbaxy in 1977 and elevated as Managing Director in 1982. He rose to the position of Vice Chairman & Managing Director in 1987 and took over as Chairman and Managing Director in 1993. It was now that he gained total control over the company after an unseemly boardroom battle with his father, Bhai Mohan Singh. In the years that followed, the company's turnover rose from a meager Rs.36 crore to Rs. 1,400 crore. The market capitalization of the company rose from a miniscule Rs. 3.5 crore to a stupendous Rs. 7,300 crore. This it speaks volumes of Dr. Singh's unending zeal towards building shareholder value and enhancing returns to investors.

Mr. Singh transformed Ranbaxy at a time when most large Indian drug companies were of foreign origin. Today, Ranbaxy is not only India's largest pharmaceutical company, but also one which has penetrated some of the toughest markets in the world like the UK, the US and Africa. Currently, the company exports to over 40 countries worldwide. The company has production facilities in six countries, sells its products in about 25 countries, and has as many as 19 joint ventures and alliances.

    Dr. Parvinder Singh was a visionary who took Indian business to the world. He was a man of simple tastes and spiritual inclination. Despite his busy schedule, he made time for his spiritual practices. As a member of several key committees constituted by the Government of India, Dr. Singh played an active role in the formulation of policy related to science and technology. He was an active member on the governing bodies of several leading educational and management institutions in India. He was committed to uplifting the standards of education in pharmacy. Dr. Singh piloted the setting up of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, the premier pharmacy institution in India.

    In the early 1990s, Dr. Singh set up a state-of-the-art R&D centre to prepare his firm for the future. Ranbaxy made every attempt to acquire a thorough knowledge of the global customer and the US Food and Drug Administration and the UK’s Medicines Control Agency rules and regulations. Though Dr. Singh's new drug discovery plan is yet to bear fruit, there is no doubt that he pioneered a bold new way of globalization.

    Dr. Singh was also greatly committed to corporate ethics and corporate governance. Despite being a family owned company, Ranbaxy’s day-to-day operations were clearly run by the professional management – most of which was handpicked by Dr. Singh himself. This professional team went on to create an Indian MNC where today nearly a sixth of the Ranbaxy family is of non-Indian origin.

    In November 1998, Dr. Parvinder Singh was recognized as the Businessman of the Year. Dr. Singh was a thoroughly human person. But he was extremely demanding which it came to the contribution to the company. His true commitment to professionalization can also be gauged by the fact that, in March 1999, he appointed D. S. Brar, a non-family man, as his successor to the top post of managing director of the company. By doing so, he not only reinforced his strong belief in professionalizing a family business but also became the torchbearer for professional managers. It was this zeal for research and development, coupled with his unbounded enthusiasm for internationalization that has made Ranbaxy a genuine Indian MNC.

    By the mid of 1999, Dr. Parvinder Singh, Chairman and Managing Director of Ranbaxy Laboratories, knew his end was near. For almost two years, he had been fighting a losing battle with cancer and undergoing extensive treatment in the US and Japan. He quietly worked in the shadow of death. Only close associates knew it. As he presumed his death, Dr. Singh announced his succession plan and named Mr. D S Brar to be the next CEO and Managing Director of the company and expressed confidence in his abilities to lead the Company to even greater heights. And finally, at the age oi56, Dr. Singh breathed his last on the evening of July 4, 1999, at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

    A few weeks before his death, when Dr. Parvinder Singh visited Mohali to attend Ranbaxy's 'annual general meeting, he appeared pale and thin, but firmly in control. He addressed a press conference and patiently answered newspersons questions. He even gave interviews, though reluctantly. That was perhaps his last interaction with newsmen. The rich tributes that have flowed from almost all corners of Indian industry, including his business rivals, speak volumes of the Dr. Singh's standing in the pharma fraternity. Much has been said and written about the vision and the zeal with which he went about building Ranbaxy, and he leaves behind a truly international company as a befitting testimony to his deeds.

    In the words of Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India: "Dr. Singh demonstrated the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and corporate ethics and set an example for Indian industry. In building an organization that has done the nation proud, Dr. Singh has made an indelible mark in the history of corporate India. We have lost in Dr. Singh an industry captain and a visionary.'

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