Ashwin Suryakant Dani was an influential Indian billionaire and businessman who served as the non-executive chairman of Asian Paints Ltd, India’s largest paint company. Born around 1944 and passing away on 28 September 2023, Dani had a long and illustrious career that saw him among the top 50 richest Indians. His tenure at Asian Paints included various roles, ranging from vice chairman and managing director to director of R&D.
Early Life and Education
Born in Mumbai, India, Ashwin Dani was the son of Suryakant Dani, one of the co-founders of Asian Paints.
Dani was highly educated in the field of chemical technology and color science. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the Institute of Chemical Technology, University of Mumbai, and pursued further studies in Pigment, Paints, and Varnish from UDCT, Mumbai. He also earned a Master’s degree in Polymer Science from the University of Akron, Ohio, and a diploma in Color Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic, Troy, New York.
Dani started his professional journey in 1967 as a development chemist at Inmont Corp (now BASF) in Detroit. A year later, he joined Asian Paints, initially as a senior executive.
Career at Asian Paints
At Asian Paints, Dani was behind the development and introduction of many pioneering products in India. He was particularly instrumental in bringing computerized color matching to the Indian industry. His contributions to Asian Paints were not limited to product development; he also played a significant role in setting up PPG Asian Paints, a joint venture between Asian Paints and PPG Industries.
Associations and Memberships
Dani was involved in various professional organizations and advisory roles:
- Founding member of Colour Group of India
- Adviser to the Central Board of Trustees of the Employees Provident Fund
- President of Indian Paint Association
- Member of the Board & Audit Committee of Sun Pharmaceuticals
- Board member of ACC Ltd, an Indian cement company
- President of Kapadwanj Kelavani Mandal, an educational institute in Gujarat
Personal Life and Death
Ashwin Dani was married to Ina Dani and had three children. His third son, Malav Dani, serves on the board of Asian Paints as a non-executive director. Ashwin Dani passed away at the age of 79 on 28 September 2023.
Awards and Honors
Throughout his lifetime, Dani was recognized for his contributions with several awards:
- Cheminor Award for Excellence in Supply Chain (2002)
- Achiever of the Year Award – Chemical Industry by Chemtech Foundation (2003)
- Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Manufacturing category (2003)
- Lifetime Achievement Award by Indian Paint Association (2011)
- Colour Society Lifetime Achievement Award (2012)
- Businessman of the Year by Business India Magazine (2015)
- B. Krishnamurthy Award of Excellence (2017)
Ashwin Suryakant Dani was a titan in the Indian business landscape, particularly in the paint and coatings industry. His vision and leadership not only shaped Asian Paints but also made significant contributions to the industry as a whole. His passing marks the end of an era, but his legacy in business innovation and leadership will continue to influence future generations.