Tobacco Asia

Volume 19, Number 5

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66 tobaccoasia / Issue 5, 2015December/January) Subscriber's Profile Arun Hitkari, managing director, Hitkari Multifil- ters, has been a stellar figure in the tobacco indus- try – not just because of his extraordinary business acumen, but also due to his shining persona. Al- ways impeccably groomed with his stylish though understated bespoke clothing, he cuts a striking picture wherever he goes, either for a meeting or conference or a cocktail-dinner reception with col- leagues and friends. His ever-smiling face, warm nature, and generous hospitality has made him a popular and well-respected figure in the industry. Here, he takes you on his journey to the top of the tobacco world. Tobacco Asia: How did you start in the tobacco industry? What influenced your decision then to work in this industry? Arun Hitkari: Hitkari Multifilters, one of the first Indian cigarette filter manufacturing com- panies, was founded after A.N. Haksar, the then chairman of ITC, had approached my father to start the business. It began with viscose filters and soon progressed to acetate filters and more com- plex filters. Being an avid smoker and taster of tobacco who thoroughly enjoyed the flavor and whiff of a won- drous smoke, as romanticized by Hollywood mov- ies with the likes of Humphrey Bogart and Marlon Brando who had a distinct style of their own, I was drawn to the tobacco industry and it was only natu- ral that I would take it up with great passion. Tobacco Asia: What do you find to be the most enjoyable aspect working in the tobacco industry? Arun Hitkari: The enjoyable aspect of work- ing in the tobacco industry is that the vast major- ity of people here are extremely knowledgeable, honest, and hard-working. Worldwide tobacco industry uses common suppliers and, in short, most people know one another. Here, you get to meet people of various cultures from countries all across the globe and this is a truly enjoyable ex- perience. Tobacco Asia: What do you consider your greatest achievement? Arun Hitkari: A few achievements particu- larly spring to mind: the first being Hitkari Mul- tifilters receiving the prestigious award/trophy in 2008 from ITC for recognition for excellence in 'Quality Management' from 2005-2007. The other is a more general one: we have been instrumental in bringing foreign suppliers of spare parts, machinery, and raw materials directly into the Indian market, thus giving Indian cigarette manu- facturers the possibility to purchase directly in India from world-renowned companies. We were also the first to introduce state-of-the-art high-speed filter rod making machinery which changed the shape of the filter rod industry in India. Hitkari Multifilters and the group companies have contributed to various social causes unrelated to the filter business. They sponsor a trust for or- phans, help finance a Mumbai hospital, and spon- sor a school near one of the manufacturing facili- ties, among other charitable causes. They have also established a fund to assist widows of police of- ficers who have died in the line of duty. It is the conviction that a business can oper- ate only with a social license that has driven the Hitkari group to think beyond considerations of profit and loss and strive to enhance the social and economic capital of the country. Arun Hitkari Subscriber, TOBACCO ASIA Hitkari received this trophy from ITC in recognition for quality management

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