"Ranbaxy is my life, my blood," said Malvinder Mohan Singh at a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday.
No surprises there, considering that the company he was referring to was set up nearly 60 years ago by his grandfather Bhai Mohan Singh and nurtured into a potent pharmaceutical force by his father Parvinder Singh. Malvinder himself joined as a management trainee in 1994.
Yet, his claim had a surreal ring to it. Only a few moments ago, he had said with visible satisfaction, "I have been appointed the managing director."
One would expect the scion of the promoter family to do the appointing, instead of being appointed.
But much has changed in the last few hours.
At a time when family-run Indian companies are venturing beyond the country's boundaries to be acknowledged as global forces, Singh has done the opposite by selling every share held by his family in Ranbaxy -- comprising 34.8 per cent of the equity -- to Japan's Daiichi-Sankyo (the Japanese company's president and CEO Takashi Shoda briefly interrupted the Q&A session to insist that the company must be referred to by its full name).
"For us, it has certainly been a very emotional decision," said Singh, 35. One wondered if the Rs 10,000 crore (Rs 100 billion) that the deal will fetch the family would be a good compensation for his agony.
Asked what he would do with the money, Singh said he had not thought about it. "I have not even looked at or thought of it because I had not anticipated a position where I will not have shareholding."
At the moment, he may not have much time to enjoy the money. He would continue as the CEO and managing director and also take up the additional responsibility of the chairman.
But how long would it be before a change gets ushered in with all the subtlety of the Japanese way? Singh said he did not foresee a change and said yes to a specific question whether he would remain the CEO for at least five years.
But why sell out? Well, it's not what you think. "This is not a sell-out. This is a strategic deal to position and transform us to the next level . . . .It was time to do something historic, something transformational." So what if he would be doing all that for someone else's company!