Skip to content

GM Rao

Grandhi Mallikarjuna Rao, known as GM Rao, was born on July 14, 1950. He is a billionaire industrialist and the founder of GMR Group, a global infrastructure developer and operator present in 7 countries. The group is actively involved in energy, highways, large urban development, and airports, known for building and operating world-class national assets.

GM Rao is not just the richest Telugu man according to Forbes but is also recognized for his grounded nature and simplicity. The GMR Group is esteemed as one of India’s most trusted and respected brands.

Inspired by Warren Buffet, GM has generously donated significant amounts of his wealth through his CSR wing, GMR Varalakshmi Foundation, impacting underserved sections of society. His philanthropic efforts earned him recognition as one of the most generous donors in corporate India.

Early Life and Education

GM was born into an upper-middle-class family in Andhra Pradesh. Initially involved in commodities trading and a small-scale jewelry business started by his father in Rajam, GM faced a turning point when asked to join the family business after failing his 10th class examination. Despite working in the family business for two years, GM expressed a desire to resume his education.

His mother’s encouragement led him to pursue Mechanical Engineering at Andhra University, becoming the first graduate in his family in 1972. Post-graduation, GM faced the division of family assets, receiving Rs. 3 lakhs and a house.

Entry into Business

Deciding against a job recommended by his father, GM entered the trading business with his brothers, initiating the journey of GMR Group. The business expanded into commodities, Oil Mill, Rice Mill, and Transport. GM briefly ventured into the Cotton ear-buds business, exporting them to various countries.

Over time, GM tried and exited 28 businesses, setting the stage for the economic liberalization of the early 1990s.

The Turning Point

In 1991, GM won the bid for the Hyderabad airport, marking the group’s entry into infrastructure development. Recognizing his lack of expertise, GM sought guidance from experts globally, emphasizing the importance of learning.

The group ventured into diverse sectors, including a barge-mounted project in Mangalore and the Outsourcing Industry. Excelling in road projects for NHAI, GMR Group continued its success story.

The Grand Expansion

The group’s focus shifted to energy and infrastructure. Winning bids for Greenfield international airports in Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, and Mumbai, GMR Group established itself as a key player in airport construction and management.

GM’s commitment to family values led to the creation of a family constitution in 2004. In 2009, GMR Group made headlines by acquiring English Premier League’s Liverpool F.C.

In 2013, GM handed over the reins to his younger son, Kiran Kumar Grandhi, while actively engaging in CSR activities and serving as the Chairman of AP Skill Development Corporation.

Facing economic challenges, the group adopted an ‘asset-light and asset-right’ strategy. Despite difficulties, GMR Group expanded its global presence with projects in Istanbul, the Philippines, and Nepal.


GM Rao has received numerous awards, including the ‘First Generation Entrepreneur of the Year,’ ‘Infrastructure Person of the Year,’ and ‘Most Inspiring Entrepreneur of the Year.’ Conferred with an honorary Doctor of Laws by York University, GM’s entrepreneurial journey is marked by resilience, learning, and significant contributions to society.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *