MBA ’84, Chair, Dalmia Continental Private Limited
VN Dalmia (MBA ’84) is the chair of Dalmia Continental Private Limited (DCPL) and has previously led other Dalmia companies. DCPL owns India’s leading brand of canola oil, Hudson, and previously owned India’s leading brand of olive oil, Leonardo, which it divested to Cargill in 2014. Dalmia is the convenor of the Canola Council of India and founder president of the Indian Olive Association. He was knighted by Italy in the rank of Commendatore (Knight Commander) for his pioneering work in popularizing the use of olive oil for Indian cuisine. Dalmia owns an extensive music collection and is an art collector, photographer, keen reader and fitness enthusiast who works out daily in the gym.
In 2010, Dalmia was appointed to the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees.
What do you do in your current role?
I am the chair of DCPL, which owns leading brands of canola oil, pasta, pickles and table olives. The company is a leading provider of wellness-creating and premium consumer goods.
What’s a typical day like for you at work?
My days are exciting! I visualize strategic direction, conceive and roll out new initiatives, respond to regulatory issues, and follow up and monitor performance. I am also the face of the company and interact with external constituencies, including the media, government, trade bodies and foreign suppliers.
How has Darden impacted your life?
Darden changed the course of my life and was a transformational experience. The most significant impacts came in knowing how to think about decision-making, marketing, resource planning and corporate strategy.
Why did you choose Darden?
I attended a class and was blown away by the energy and enthusiasm. I loved the case method and the general management focus.
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
Make quick decisions based on your gut instinct. Eight times out of 10 you’ll be right, and the time you save will cover the cost of the wrong times.
What’s your personal motto?
Don’t take life too seriously, and be dispassionate. You win some and lose some.
How do you measure success?
Health, family, common sense, moderate fame and material wealth, intellect, friends and rewarding work.
What motivates you?
Making a sale, succeeding in an endeavor and receiving the appreciation of those close to me.