The founder of Cafe Coffee Day, V G Siddhartha, died by suicide in 2019 and the news of his sudden demise shocked everyone. It was reported that he had gone missing mysteriously amid mounting debts.
Amid speculations that CCD won’t survive without its founder, his wife, Malavika Hegde, took the reins of the group in her hands. She took over as the CEO of Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd (CDEL) in December 2020.
Malavika Hedge was involved in the coffee business ever since she married VG Siddhartha. She was on the Cafe Coffee Day board, but only as a non-executive board member and was handling the daily operations of CCD since 2008.
Things weren’t easy when Malavika Hedge took over. In 2019, Coffee Day had a huge debt of over ₹7,000 crore.
But Malavika stood up to the challenge and achieved the unexpected with her management tactics and strategies. CDEL managed to bring down the debt to ₹3,100 crore by March 2020, and to ₹1,731 crore in January 2021. A reduction of 75% in two years despite all the restrictions associated with the pandemic.
Malavika Hegde, daughter of the former Chief Minister of Karnataka Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna, is an engineer by profession and has two sons.
Before she took over as the CEO, she wrote a letter to thousands of CCD employees saying:
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.
In another note written to all stakeholders and employees recently, Malavika declared that “they were able to achieve this unbelievable feat in two years without any favours from any lender, and she will not only repay every single penny back to them but also revive Cafe Coffee Day”.