Ashwin Dani (1944–2023) was an Indian billionaire businessman. He was the non-executive chairman of India’s largest homegrown paints company, Asian Paints Ltd, which was co-founded by his father in 1942. He began his association with Asian Paints in 1968. Dani served as the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the company from 1998 to 2009. He passed away after a brief illness on 28 September 2023.
Ashwin Suryakant Dani The Economic Times was born on Tuesday, 26 September 1944 (age 79 years; at the time of death) in Mumbai. His zodiac sign is Libra. He pursued a Bachelor of Science (Hons) at The Institute of Science, Mumbai, University of Mumbai. Then, he went on to pursue a Bachelor of Science (Technology) in Pigments, Paints & Varnishes at the Institute of Chemical Technology (formerly known as the University Department of Chemical Technology (UDCT)), Mumbai. Thereafter, he obtained a Master of Science in Polymer Science from the University of Akron, Ohio, USA. He also earned a Diploma in Colour Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic, Troy, New York. Live Mint
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Hair Colour: Grey (half bald)
Eye Colour: Balck
Parents & Siblings
His father, Suryakant Dani, was a businessman, who co-founded Asian Paints in 1942.
Wife & Children
His wife, Ina Dani, is also a keen yoga practitioner and adherent follower of yoga teacher B. K. S. Iyengar like her husband. She used to teach yoga to pregnant ladies at the Iyengar Yoga Centre which the husband-wife duo established at their residential building Home Villa in 1998. She has also served as managing trustee to Guruji’s Light on Yoga Research Trust (LOYRT).
He has three sons, Jalaj Dani, Malav Dani, and Hasit Dani. Jalaj Dani is a businessman, investor, and philanthropist, who was the public face of Asian Paints for around two decades during which he handled human resources, supply chain, and chemicals portfolio at the company. In 2017, he resigned from his leadership roles at Asian Paints and became its co-promoter. He is the Chairman of Addverb Technologies and IIM Trichy and an Independent Director of HDFC and Havells.
Malav A. Dani is a businessman and entrepreneur. He is a Non-executive Director and Chairman of CSR Committee at Asian Paints. He is also a Managing Director of BSE-listed plastic and packaging company Hitech Corporation Limited.
Hasit Dani is also an Indian businessman and entrepreneur, who is a board member of Asian Paints.
In 1967, Dani began his career working with Inmont Corp in Detroit, US, as a development chemist. He joined Asian Paints in 1968 as a senior executive and moved through various successive positions, such as director of R&D, works director, and whole-time director. The company was co-founded by his father, Suryakant Dani, along with his three friends, Champaklal Choksey, Chimanlal Choksi, and Arvind Vakil in Gaiwadi, Girgaon, Mumbai in February 1942. Later, the Choksey family sold their stake, meanwhile, the remaining three families kept a 52.3 percent stake in the company. He joined the company’s board in 1970 and held the position of Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Company from 1998 to 2009. Thereafter, he continued on the board as the Non-Executive Director and Vice Chairman of the Board and the Company.
He went through various difficult situations over the course of three years starting in 1995. He experienced a heart bypass operation, saw his longest-serving business partner depart from the company, and witnessed a devastating fire destroy one of their primary manufacturing facilities. Despite the setbacks, he was able to create a 50:50 partnership between Asian Paints and PPG Industries, a top car paint company from the USA. He was the founder director on the board of the first joint venture company with PPG Industries Inc. called PPG Asian Paints Private Ltd. Besides that, he was also on the board of Sun Pharmaceuticals. Other positions he held were Chairman – Resins and Plastics Ltd, Gujarat Organics Ltd, and Hi-Tech Plast Ltd. He was also the founder-promoter of Loctite India Private Limited, which later came to be known as Henkel Adhesive Technologies India Private Limited. He grew the company through technological innovation, rural marketing, and international acquisitions. He was the first to introduce computerized colour matching in the Indian industry, a concept which was widely adopted in sectors such as paints, plastics, printing inks and textiles. Under his leadership, Asian Paints became the first paint company in India and Asia to adopt this concept in 1975. He was also the first to bring plastic packaging for paint to India and to print on plastic. One of the finest products introduced by him includes melamine, the transparent coating for wood that was sold under the brand name, Apcolite. The product had a virtual monopoly in market share for around 15 years. Dani came up with the idea to make melamine when his executive director shared that he liked a lot of ice in his drink which made the glass moist and ruined the French polish on his table. The executive director urged Dani to find a solution to the problem. Dani took six months to develop Apcolite which was fast-drying and water-resistant. Asian Paints was on Forbes Asia’s Fab 50 companies for 3 years in a row, in 2011, 2012, and 2013, with sales growing 20% annually. Between 2018 and 2021, he was the chairman of Asian Paints and its board. In FY23, Asian Paints recorded a total revenue of Rs 29,953 crore with a net profit of Rs 4,100.2 crore, making it the largest paint company in India.
- HURUN Life Time Achievement Award (2022)
- B. Krishnamurthy Award of Excellence by The Hyderabad Management Association and Centre for Organisational Development (2017)
- Businessman of the Year Award by Business India magazine (2015)
- Colour Society Lifetime Achievement Award (2012)
- Lifetime Achievement Award by the Indian Paint Association (IPA) (2011)
- Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the ‘Manufacturing’ category (2003)
- Achiever of the Year Award – chemical industry’ by the Chemtech Foundation (2003)
- Cheminor Award from the Indian Institute of Materials Management for excellence in Supply Chain (2002)
On 28 September 2023, on the date of his death, his net worth was $7.8 billion. Forbes He ranked #49 on Forbes India’s The 100 Richest Indians 2013 list for a net worth of $1310 million. Forbes India
- Dani was a keen yoga practitioner. He was an adherent follower of B. K. S. Iyengar, an Indian teacher of yoga and author. It was an obstinate slipped disc that first brought Ashwin to Iyengar in 1980. Dani experienced a 75% relief in only one yoga lesson and stopped visiting his physiotherapist. During that period, Guruji used to travel to Mumbai from Pune every weekend on the Deccan Queen train, and Dani, along with his wife, joined his classes. The husband and wife wanted to create something permanent for yoga. Hence, when they built their residential building, Home Villa, in the 1990s, the first thing they established was an Iyengar Yoga Centre on its first floor. That’s how Iyengar Yoga became a way of life in the Dani household. Every day, the family members try to spare at least an hour for yoga practice. Dani himself practised a minimum of three times a week.
- Throughout his professional career, Dani held significant roles in various government and trade organizations. These roles included being a member of the President’s Advisory Council at The University of Akron in Akron, Ohio, USA, holding the position of Vice President at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), participating in the Board of Governors of the U.D.C.T. (currently known as the Institute of Chemical Technology) Alumni Association, and serving on the Board of Management of the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai. He also served as an adviser on the Central Board of Trustees for the Employees Provident Fund of the Government of India.
- His son Jalaj Dani‘s wife Vita Dani is a niece of Indian businessman Dhirubhai Ambani. Her brothers Hital Meswani and Nikhil Meswani serve on the board of Reliance Industries.
- Ashwin Dani was an art connoisseur.