Vinod Sekhar – Rebuilding after Asian Financial Crisis

Life is full of its ups and downs. Just like the rest of us, Vinod Sekhar too had to go through unfortunate circumstances and hardships that life threw at him. So, where did it go wrong for him?

It was 1997, and Vinod had already started the Petra Group with his partner, Tunku Imran. As he reflected, part of the problem was being what he calls, the God complex. It was a time when, in his words, “everyone was telling me I was the best thing since sliced bread … and that everything I touched turned to gold”.

It is important to remember that he was just a young man at the time when recognition kept pouring in. It was definitely an overwhelming experience — being praised and being put on a pedestal like that at such a young age was just too much.

Vinod admits that the lack of experience caused him to start believing the hype. And because of that, he started doing things that “common sense says you don’t … business experience says you don’t”. One miscalculated business venture in particular was East Asia’s largest fruit and vegetable farm, which did not flourish due to a lack of government support.

The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis came as quite a shock that shook the core of the East Asian Boom. Vinod Sekhar had a setback during that time and was hospitalised overseas for health problems too.

“It was a situation where the ceiling had collapsed and I was not there to help salvage matters. I had not created the strong foundation and management systems to sustain business but relied on partners whom Tunku Imran and I trusted, and who had talked us into investing.”

Vinod is a man who always had control over matters. But unfortunately, during the Asian Financial Crisis, he was handicapped by his illness and his inability to be in the country took a toll on his business. Also Read: Vinod Sekhar – Most Prominent Businessman, Philanthropist Out of Malaysia.

By the time he returned to Malaysia, the bomb had already been dropped and it was just a matter of waiting to face the aftermath of the explosion. It short, “I was looking at a disaster”.

Another cause of the problems at that time, as he identified, was that they had too many businesses which caused them to be financially spread wide and thin.