Parag Desai was a prominent Indian businessman and the executive director of Gujarat Tea Processors and Packers Limited, known for the iconic Wagh Bakri tea brand. He was also an expert tea taster, an environmentalist, and a visionary leader who transformed the family business into one of India’s leading packaged tea companies. Tragically, he passed away on October 22, 2023, at the age of 49, due to a brain hemorrhage following an incident involving street dogs.
Early Life and Family Background
Born in 1974 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Parag Desai was the son of Rasesh Desai, the managing director of the Wagh Bakri Tea Group. He belonged to the fourth generation of the Desai family, the founders of the tea conglomerate in 1892. His passion for tea began in childhood, nurtured by his father and grandfather.
Parag Desai attended St. Xavier’s High School in Ahmedabad and pursued his graduation at H.L. College of Commerce. He furthered his education by earning an MBA from Long Island University in New York, gaining insights into international markets and business practices.
Career and Achievements
Parag Desai’s journey with the Wagh Bakri Tea Group began in 1995 when he joined as a sales executive. His career trajectory was impressive as he rose to the position of executive director. He was instrumental in overseeing sales, marketing, and export divisions, contributing significantly to the company’s growth.
Under his leadership, the company’s turnover surged from less than Rs 100 crore in 1995 to over Rs 2,000 crore in 2023. The company distributed over 50 million kg of tea annually across more than 24 states in India and exported to about 60 countries. Parag introduced innovative products and sub-brands under the Wagh Bakri umbrella and pioneered the concept of tea lounges in India.
Legacy of Sustainability
Parag Desai’s commitment extended beyond business. He championed sustainability and social responsibility, initiating projects in water conservation, carbon footprint reduction, organic farming promotion, and support for education and healthcare of tea workers and their families.
Parag Desai’s father, Rasesh Desai, is the managing director of the Wagh Bakri Tea Group. His mother, Nita Desai, celebrated her 70th birthday on September 9, 2023. Parag was the only son and heir of the Desai family. His wife, Vidisha Desai, is also actively involved in the tea business. Their daughter, Parisha Desai, is pursuing her education in business administration.
Death Cause and Tributes
Parag Desai’s untimely demise occurred on October 22, 2023, after a brain hemorrhage caused by an incident with street dogs during his morning walk near Iscon Ambli Road on October 15. His passing shocked family, friends, colleagues, and admirers, who paid their condolences and remembered his contributions to the tea industry and society.
Net Worth & Income
While his exact net worth isn’t publicly disclosed, estimates place it at around INR 10-12 crores. As the executive director of the Wagh Bakri Tea Group, he played a pivotal role in the company’s substantial growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Parag Desai served as the executive director of the Wagh Bakri Tea Group, overseeing various aspects of the business, including sales, marketing, and exports.
Parag Desai passed away due to a brain hemorrhage caused by a fall after an encounter with street dogs during his morning walk.
Parag Desai initiated projects related to water conservation, carbon footprint reduction, organic farming promotion, and support for education and healthcare of tea workers and their families.
Rasesh Desai, Parag Desai’s father, is the managing director of the Wagh Bakri Tea Group.
Parag Desai pioneered the concept of tea lounges in India, offering a variety of teas and snacks in a comfortable setting. He also launched several sub-brands under the Wagh Bakri umbrella.
Parag Desai’s life and career were marked by his dedication to the tea industry, his commitment to sustainability, and his vision for the future. His legacy continues through the Wagh Bakri Tea Group, which remains a symbol of quality and innovation.