As president of Legrand-India, Vimal Mahendru guides the long and medium-term strategy for both global and domestic markets for the French company that develops and markets equipment for digital and electrical networks.
Mahendru is also actively involved with the Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers’ Association and has been its president in the past. He is also a member of the Standardization Management Board and chairman of the Low Voltage Direct current Committee of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
Mahendru studied engineering at the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology in Patiala and then went on to do an MBA in marketing and finance from George Washington University, USA. After working in the US for a year, he returned to India to join his family business, IndoAsian, a manufacturer of circuit breakers, switchgear and other electrical equipment. In 2010, Legrand-India bought the switchgear division of IndoAsian and Mahendru was appointed as president.
Mahendru has played a key role in promoting DC microgrids in India. In 2013, in a bid to get appropriate standards for DC microgrids in India, he represented the country’s perspective at the IEC. India was saddled with challenges relating to electricity access and DC microgrids were seen as an effective solution. He is now calling for a national policy on DC microgrids in order to protect investor interests. As Mahendru points out, “Microgrids help in providing reliable electricity, but if the national grid comes in where the DC microgrid has already been set up, it could adversely impact the investor.”
He believes that every country should look at standards from its own perspective. While international standards are generally crafted keeping all member countries and global populations in mind, sometimes, international standards may not be compatible with specific conditions. As a result, IEC standards may need to be modified or supplemented with specific clauses to reflect national imperatives.
Aside from work, Mahendru is passionate about teaching and is a guest lecturer at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, where he shares his views on entrepreneurship, family business, professionalism and strategy with students. Mahendru is an ardent cricket fan and has travelled the world to watch matches, especially India-Pakistan matches. He regrets missing the latest India-Pakistan World Cup clash because of an IEC meeting in Geneva, but will make sure he watches the big final.