I know what you’re pondering upon. We all have heard of the famous dictum ‘there is always a woman behind every successful man’, but Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw prefers to introduce a different spectrum to the whole concept.
In Mazumdar-Shaw’s case, her husband, John Shaw, didn't hesitate in taking the backseat and letting his wife drive solo.
The 66-year old billionaire entrepreneur, who has been affectionately called "India's biotech queen" in the media, first met John in 1990s when he had come to Bengaluru to visit the headquarters of Madura Coats as the chairman and managing director of the firm.
"So I first met him at a social gathering where we just got talking and then, of course, we found that we had a few interests such as art, golf and both of us were single so we decided to spend time with each other," Mazumdar-Shaw told CNBC-TV18 in an interview that aired on March 30, 2015.
After nearly seven years of dating, they decided to get married and the event coincided with an opportunity for Biocon to buy back its shares from Unilever and become totally independent.
That's when John, a Scottish, extended his support to Mazumdar-Shaw, who was in desperate need of funds.
"I had no money to kind of buy back those shares but John had some property in the UK, which he sold and then bought those shares. So he always says that was true love and he felt that that was the best investment he made," said Mazumdar-Shaw, the chairman & MD of Biocon.
After marriage, John backed, encouraged and guided Mazumdar-Shaw in every possible way. He even put his life’s savings into Biocon.
A cancer survivor, John serves as the vice-chairman of Biocon.
He has had a major contribution in the transformation of Biocon from a small company into a biotech behemoth.
In 2001, Biocon became the first Indian company to gain the approval of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the manufacture of a cholesterol-lowering molecule. The company subsequently expanded exponentially. Profits jumped more than 42 percent in 2003 alone.
"Our whole ethos is about providing affordable access to patients who need these very important life-saving, life-enhancing drugs. I always say that to me, a blockbuster drug is not about a billion dollars but it is about a billion patients," said Mazumdar-Shaw, who is the recipient of numerous awards.
The World Economic Forum recognized her as a “Technology Pioneer” in 2000, and Ernst & Young named her best entrepreneur in the field of health care and life sciences in 2002.In 2005, Mazumdar-Shaw also received the Padma Bhushan Award, one of India’s highest civilian honours, for her pioneering work in industrial biotechnology.