Meet Malavika Hegde, Who Saved Cafe Coffee Day After Husband's Suicide Due To Rs. 7,000 Crores Debt

Meet the CEO of Cafe Coffee Day, Malavika Hegde, who saved CCD from shutting down after her husband's death by suicide as he failed to overcome a debt of Rs. 7,000 crores.


By Rishabh Naudiyal Last Updated:


Meet Malavika Hegde, Who Saved Cafe Coffee Day After Husband's Suicide Due To Rs. 7,000 Crores Debt

Cafe Coffee Day, commonly known as CCD, is one of the biggest names when it comes to the coffee business in India. Cafe Coffee Day is a subsidiary of Coffee Day Enterprises. The headquarters of the famous multinational coffeehouses is in Bengaluru, Karnataka. Apart from dominating India, CCD is also successfully operating in Nepal, Egypt, the Czech Republic, Malaysia and Austria.

The company was founded back in 1996 by late entrepreneur, VG Siddhartha Hegde. The first-ever Cafe Coffee Day outlet was opened at Brigade Road in Bangalore on July 11, 1996. Within the first 15 years, CCD has succeeded in opening 1,000 cafes around the country in different states. Talking about VG Siddhartha's personal life, he was married to Malavika Hegde and the couple is blessed with two kids, Eshaan and Amartya. While he always guarded his personal life, it was his professional life that took everything from him. The story of CCD’s success is both tragic and inspiring. So, without further ado, let’s get straight into it!

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How VG Siddhartha Hegde founded Cafe Coffee Day

The late entrepreneur, VG Siddhartha was from a family of coffee planters, who belonged to the Vokkaliga community. It was in 1993 when he established a coffee trading company, ABC, in Karnataka that had a turnover of Rs. 6 crores. Soon, VG Siddhartha brought a coffee curing unit for Rs. 4 crores, and the mammoth investment was an exceptional move. The company, as of now, has the largest curing capacity in India at 75,000 tonnes.

The first Cafe Coffee Day parlour was opened in Karnataka

After achieving such massive success with his coffee trading company, VS Siddhartha Hegde jumped into the coffee parlour business. In 1996, when he set up his first-ever cafe in Karnataka, it was also the first coffee parlour in the city. With time, Siddhartha’s coffee business grew, and he managed to open 1700 Cafe Coffee Day parlous in different parts of the country. As per reports, 40,000 to 50,000 people used to come to his cafes weekly.

When VG Siddhartha Hegde committed suicide after he failed to clear a debt of Rs. 7000 crores

Just like every entrepreneur in the world, VG Siddhartha Hegde also faced a series of financial hindrances in his entrepreneurial journey with Cafe Coffee. Unfortunately, things didn’t get better with time, and despite the entrepreneur’s best efforts, Cafe Coffee Day had a mammoth debt of Rs. 7000 crores on its head. It was in July 2019 when VG Siddhartha committed suicide after he failed to find any way to clear the debt of Rs. 7000 crores.

Cafe Coffee Day’s founder, VG Siddhartha died after he jumped into the Netravati river

The entrepreneur was travelling to Sakleshpur in his car with his driver, and when the bridge came on his way, he told his driver to stop the car and wait for him at the end of the bridge. VG Siddhartha jumped off the bridge and ended his life by jumping into the Netravati river. After waiting for almost an hour, the driver went back to the bridge where he dropped his boss, and when he couldn’t find him, he called VG Siddhartha’s elder son and told him about the same.

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The family wasted no time in registering a missing complaint at their nearby police station. Soon the Indian Coastal Guard and National Disaster Response Force conducted a search operation which couldn’t locate VG Siddhartha’s body. Luckily, on July 31, 2019, a local fisherman found the entrepreneur’s body at the Hoige Bazaar beach and informed the police about the same.

VG Siddhartha’s wife, Malavika Hegde took the challenge of saving Cafe Coffee Day from shutting down after her husband’s death

It was a heartbreaking moment for VG Siddhartha’s wife, Malavika Hegde to digest the fact that her husband passed away due to the burden of Rs. 7,000 crores debt on his head. As a result, she made an inspiring decision to save her husband’s dream company, Cafe Coffee Day, from shutting down. The doting wife became the CEO of CCD and took matters into her own hands.

It was in December 2020 when Malavika Hegde became the CEO of Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd (CDEL). As per reports, soon after her appointment, the first thing that Malavika did was send a letter to employees in which she motivated them to work together as a team to clear off the debt of Rs. 7000 crores. It was her commitment to the purpose that changed everything.

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How Malavika Hegde saved Cafe Coffee Day after her husband, VG Siddhartha's demise

In March 2019, CCD had a debt of Rs. 7000 crores, and on March 31, 2020, it was reduced to Rs. 3,100 crores, as per CDEL’s annual report. Malavika met every single lender and managed to renegotiate the non-operational debt that played a major role in reducing the interest payments. Another big step was to shut down the unprofitable parlours across the world, which reduced the debt even more. However, the biggest move was to sell a portion of CCD's stake to mega-companies like Mindtree, Shriram and Way2Wealth.

Malavika Hegde shocked the entire business world by turning around the tragic story of Cafe Coffee Day’s Rs. 7000 crores debt. Well, you must be wondering how Malavika managed to do such an incredible job. The answer lies in her educational background and the fact that Malavika Hegde lost her husband, VG Siddhartha because of the Rs. 7000 crores debt. Hence, she was determined to pay tribute to her husband by saving the company that her husband founded with much love and sweat. However, it was not only about him, as Malavika was also concerned about thousands of employees whose jobs were at stake if the Cafe Coffee Day shuts.

Cafe Coffee Day’s CEO, Malavika Hegde’s educational background

Malavika Hegde was born in 1969, and she is the daughter of former Karnataka Chief Minister, SM Krishna. The entrepreneur completed her schooling and graduated from Bengaluru. Malavika did her engineering from the prestigious Bengaluru University. After her marriage with VG Siddhartha, she was heavily involved in the CDEL business, which was the reason she succeeded in saving the company from shutting down despite having a debt of Rs. 7,000 crores.

What are your thoughts on how Malavika Hegde saved Cafe Coffee Day from shutting down after her husband, VG Siddhartha committed suicide? Let us know.

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