How Malavika Hegde, Widow Of Cafe Coffee Day Founder, Became CEO & Saved Company From Dying

Back in July 2019, reports of the death of the founder of Cafe Coffee Day (Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd), V G Siddhartha had sent shockwaves across the nation. Siddhartha’s dead body was found on the banks of the Netravathi river near Hoigebazar after he went missing from the Netravathi Bridge in Mangaluru.

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Siddhartha had also left a letter that highlighted his financial crisis that lead to people assuming that his coffee company wouldn’t survive long under the mounting debts of around Rs 7200 crore as of March 2019.

But that’s when his wife and the then non-executive board member of the company, Malavika Hegde, decided to change the fate of the failing company and took over as the CEO of Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd (CDEL) in December 2020.

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Even though she was involved in the coffee business ever since she married Siddhartha, Malavika sure had to do a lot of work to bring down the debt to only Rs 1731 crore by March 2021 that too amid the financial blow that the coronavirus gave to the world, reported Zee News.

Obviously, it took a lot of courage and strength from the 51-year-old entrepreneur to do this amazing feat. Malavika, who is the daughter of former Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna, is an engineering graduate. She married Siddhartha in 1991 and has 2 children.

According to Punekar News, CDEL paid Rs 1,644 crore to its lenders, which reduced the company’s debt to Rs 3,200 crore from Rs 4,900 crore earlier. It also accepted a certain amount from US private equity giant Blackstone and had sold a stake in Mindtree that would aid at reducing its deficit. Moreover, with the company, the new CEO entered into a share purchase agreement with reputed companies and was thereby able to reduce their debt to Rs 2,693 crore.

Even amid Covid-19, the company continued its expansion and was successful in trust-building from new investors.


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In an earlier letter to the company’s employees,  Malavika said she was committed to the future of Coffee Day as a going concern.

“We will work to reduce the debt to a manageable level by selling a few more investments as I am committed to the company’s future,” she said reported The News Minute.

Malavika was able to revive the company’s financial health in two years and filled up to 75% of the debt. She is now determined to not only repay every ‘single penny back’ to them but also revive Cafe Coffee Day.

She is a true example. Thanks for making us believe that it’s never too late.

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