Former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved, SK Patra, has said that he left the company because he was not paid what was promised. The IIT-Kharagpur graduate who also has an MBA from the IIM Ahmedabad also alleged that the yoga guru Ramdev thinks people working for the company are doing ‘seva’.
“They pay very little to the people who work for them. He calls it ‘seva’ (voluntary work). For instance, I was doing two jobs there—at Patanjali Ayurved and Patanjali Food Park. They had promised to pay for both,” Patra said in an interview with Live Mint.
The former CEO said that Ramdev would announce to everyone that “Patraji has come to do seva. Right now he is drawing salary, but soon, he won’t even take that…”
I used to respond, “No, I want my money.”
I have a family. I need money for my family, to support them and my relatives. Then Babaji relented and gave me a salary for one of the two jobs that I was performing. But basically his argument was—I have to offer free seva to his host of companiesSK Patra, Former CEO of Patanjali
Under Patra, sales of the Haridwar-based company, which sells everything from herbal soaps and shampoos to ghee and honey, grew from Rs317 crore to Rs2,500 crore. He was the CEO of Patanjali Ayurved Ltd and president of Patanjali Food Park from 2011-2014. Patra quit the company over irrevocable differences with the management.
It is to be noted that Ramded refused to pay his top employee at a time the company was performing well in the market. According to Ramdev himself, Patanjali had sales of Rs10,561 crore in the last financial year.
I was also seeing the distance between their words and their actions and it troubled me. Eventually, it became too much. So I leftSK Patra, Former CEO of Patanjali
Patra also reveals Ramdev was involved in all the most important decisions—what to make, how much to make, when to make, how much to sell for.
“The company also does not care very much about profits. Babaji only wants to sell,” he added. In the interview, Patra also recalled being amazed at Baba Ramdev's “imaginative style of doing business”.
Patra also said it was a herculean effort for him to bring the “chaotic” place to normal.