Malavika Hegde, wife of the entrepreneur VG Siddhartha Hegde, whose sudden demise had shaken the business world last year, in her first public statement promised her employees to remain fully committed to paring down the multi-crore debt burden of the company. Talking about her late husband and founder of Cafe Coffee Day, she wrote to employees that even though the challenges for the company are “far from over”  but she is cooperating with authorities and the board of the beleaguered company on “a corrective course of action.”

The letter came in on the same day an investigation report revealed the debts Siddhartha owed and that his financial dealings are being reviewed. Struggling to cope with the finances still, Malavika wrote to the group’s 25,000 employees and assured that the Coffee Day story was “worth preserving”, the Times of India reported.

Hegde wrote she was “resolutely committed to the future of Coffee Day as a going concern,” which she described as “a genuine Indian consumer story worth preserving.”

On Friday, nearly a year after Siddhartha’s demise on July 29, 2019, the investigation report was submitted. It is reported to be a clean chit to the Income Tax Department and the PE investors of the company in reference to “the founder’s statements of harassment and pressure he faced.” It also highlighted the details of a private entity owned by the late founder who owed Rs 2,693 crore to the listed entity, Coffee Day Enterprises Limited (CDEL). Hegde died by suicide in Mangaluru last year. It was also reported that pressure from investors, income tax authorities and mounting debt forced him to take such a drastic step.

After his tragic death, expressing support Malavika Hegde, who is a daughter of former Karnataka chief minister SM Krishna, joined the board to pay off the debts owed by her husband.

What You Should Know

  • “Coffee Day is a genuine Indian consumer story worth preserving,” Malavika Hegde wrote to employees of Coffee Day.
  • Hegde, who was married to Siddhartha for 32 years, implied that she is not giving up on the organisation.
  • Late founder VG Siddhartha owed Rs 2,693 crore to the listed entity, Coffee Day Enterprises Limited (CDEL).

Hegde’s note to the employees

“I am fully aware of the requirements and responsibilities in this regard and will fully cooperate with the Board and the concerned authorities for a corrective course of action” Hegde, who was married to Siddhartha for 32 years, wrote.

Pointing out that the overall debt is now reduced, she further said, “I am resolutely committed to the future of Coffee Day as a going concern. We have significantly brought down our debt level from Rs 7200 crore to Rs 3200 now. We think we can bring that to a more manageable level with our plans to sell a few more of our investments shortly. ”

Also Read: Jyotika’s Bhatia’s Srujna Trust, is Giving Hope to Underprivileged Women

Even though during the lockdown, the challenges increased, she said, “Somewhere along the way in the last 12 months, my mission has been to uphold the proud legacy of Siddhartha. He has left me a job to do, to settle every lender to the best of my ability, to grow the business and to enthuse and foster our employees.”

Thanking her employees for the tremendous support, she wrote, “At this point, I would like to say thank you to each and every one of you and convey my deepest appreciation for the positivity and the hard work you have put in during these tumultuous time.”

Feature Image Credit: AFP

Also Read: Why entrepreneurs love their coffee

More Stories By Ria Das

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