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Dr. Ramesh Ramachandran, Group CEO of EQUATE

Dr. Ramesh Ramachandran

Group CEO of EQUATE - Born to fight !

“I am blessed with everything by God’s grace. It’s time to give back to people and society.!”

-by N.C.Mohandoss with Abeenash

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From humble beginnings in Chennai, India, Dr. Ramesh Ramachandran represents a success story that is a both entertaining and educational for the world today.There are people who had natural birth, educated, grew up fast in life reaching peaks. There are some who had unnatural birth and continue their success stories. Dr. Ramesh Ramachandran is from second category.

He is currently CEO of EQUATE group of companies having its headquarters in Kuwait. This petrochemical company is coming under private sector in Kuwait with a joint participation of Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) and Dow Chemical Co. USA. This company has its production facilities not only in Kuwait but also in Germany, Canada and latest addition is in USA. He was an Indian by birth holding American nationality.

Dr. Ramesh is originally from Chennai and his father was working as sales manager in Burmah Shell Company. Ramesh’s father later went to work for NOCIL, a large petrochemical company that inspired Ramesh to follow in his footsteps. In spite of the fact his parents had an elder son, To this day, Ramesh attributes all his success to the blessings, sacrifices that his parents have had to make to educate and tolerate his desires.

He was born in Ghosha hospital in Chennai. Dduring his birth at the Chola hospital at Mylapore, things took a difficult turn. Doctors informed his mother to be prepared to face the worst since the baby might be born dead. We all know the “Caesarian” techniques were primitive in late 50s, 60s and even 70s. Ramesh was born through Caesarian operation after a long struggle during delivery time. He jokes that the doctors were not sure he should live or not, but he decided to live anyway. It appears that all his life has mimicked his birth where people think it can’t be done and he proves them wrong.

Ramesh’s father was working in Calcutta and hence Ramesh did his primary schooling over there. He moved to Padma Seshadri School in Chennai from his fourth standard when his father got his transfer to Chennai. He continued his secondary education in the same school. In addition to academic performance, he excelled in elocution competitions and music. He was an enthusiastic player of mridangam.

Ramesh had larger affinity towards Arts, Music and entertaining activities during his school days. He was the first game show host with Doordarhsan in India for a program called “Just a Minute”. He wanted to continue to be a game show host. However, Due to pressure from societyparents, he wrote IIT entrance examination and pursued engineering. He did not get to IIT and was wondering if society was more disappointed than he was. .

Since he didn’t get through, He gladly chose to study production engineering in Guindy Engineering College which was under Madras University at that time and later became Anna University. He completed his engineering degree in 1982. His parents support to him in Madras University helped him succeed in the arts and in education during his time at college.

Ramesh speaks emotionally about the debate that occurs even today in families on what field a child should pursue. “It’s nice to watch movies like 3 Idiots and get a lot of advice that children should pursue what they are interested in.


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There is a reason that’s a movie – in real life, it’s all about probability of success and making a living. We need to find a balance even if it’s hard. You can pursue being a painter or a cricket player or a singer – but can you put food on the table with that? The number of failures in these fields are much higher than those that pursue the sciences. So it’s all about finding a balance.

I agree, you don’t push kids to do things they have no interest in. But parents should not be blamed as is fashionable these days, if they bring a reality check on employment versus education. I for one am happy I did my engineering and didn’t try to be a game show host. The interpersonal and leadership skills of hosting game shows are quite valuable in the business world too.” .

A lesson learnt from his life, according to Ramesh, is “ Find a balance - Society and communities Parents should try to avoid forcing not enforce their own dreams and desires on their children’s career. But let’s remember - Parents have the right to guide their children leaving them to decide after explaining the ‘pros and cons’ in the options available”.

Ramesh had a dream to pursue his career abroad and made full efforts and attention to score high in GRE. He got admission in Columbia University, New York to do MS and doctorate program. He had just 470$ in hand when he proceeded to USA. Since his parents were not economically sound to support his education in USA, his father arranged a loan in LIC to buy his plane ticket to the University.

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The assistance from the University was barely enough to pay the rent in New York. finance his higher education. Indeed, the family traveled by train to Mumbai to save on that airfare from Chennai to Mumbai. Since Ramesh was frugal in nature, he took train to reach Mumbai to fly to USA. It was quite a financial strain on the family for Ramesh to go to the US. He got his admission at IIM Calcutta and his I-20 to go to Columbia on the same day. He chose Columbia and was never sure if it was the right decision.

Ramesh believes it was a wrong start to go to Columbia instead of IIM. Things have worked out now but it was a combination of luck and blessings from a Higher Power according to Ramesh.. There will be times in life wherein all doors are closed leading to disappointments and some other time wherein several opportunities knock our door simultaneously making it difficult what to choose and which way to go. Ramesh was in the latter case having more than one option to choose.

While he got admission in Columbia University meeting his intentions, he was admitted in IIM, Calcutta too that his parents were in favor of. Had he joined IIM, he would have secured a fabulous job in India with handsome salary that would have taken him to new heights in his life in an Indian environment.

Ramesh completed his masters in Chemistry; it was a Herculean task for him to get a job. He had tough time in 1984-85 undergoing financial and mental stress due to underemployment. He did not give up. He was fully determined having strong faith in God about his future. His personality was clearly more suited for a career in marketing and management but he ended up with a PhD in Chemistry from an Ivy League school.

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As we mentioned in our earlier notes, Ramesh had skills and talents as a “notable entertainer” during his school and college days. Hence though he did his Master’s degree in Chemistry, he had equal interest in demonstrating his entertaining skills. He initiated “just a minute” competition in Doordarshan. The persons should speak non-stop on a given topic for one minute.

This competition was a very successful event and Ramesh proudly says this skill was quite useful and handy in his career. Though he had passion for being an entertainer, Ramesh parents did not allow him to continue the Doordarshan show.

Ramesh earned his Doctorate in surface and colloid chemistry from Columbia University. He spent his entire career in the chemical industry, started as an analytical chemist before moving into the commercial side of the business holding product and marketing manager roles for a wide variety of business units.

Also, he patented his research work on fixing the white strip above the blade a polymer on the Gillette razors. His refinements in ladies razor made significant commercial success. It was a great learning on the uncertainties of marketing. This razor was developed by Gillette for women and no one expected men to be shaving with a white strip on top of the blades. Today this polymer above the blade continues to be an important part of shaving for all even after 35 years!

Ramesh continued his learning journey since the desire to learn did not quench. He did his MBA (in finance) from Rutgers University through part time course. That MBA helped him switch from being a scientist to management. It was common to stereo type an Indian immigrant in the US as a “techie scientist” but Ramesh recalls the two people – Mr. CC Pai and Rebecca Citron who saw the management talent in him. He feels strongly that one should always look for talent in companies from young people whose real calling might be in a different field and encourage them.

Joining Dow Chemical Company in 2001, Ramesh was named as business director acrolein derivatives, ENB and specialty ketones, before taking over responsibility as business for Dow's hydrocarbons division in 2003 in the United States.

In 2004, he relocated to Calgary Canada, assuming the role of president of Dow Chemical Canada Inc. and continuing his role business director of Dow Hydrocarbons. As president, he was also a member of the board of directors of Petromont Inc., a joint venture between Dow Chemical Canada Inc. and the Quebec Investment Group.

During his tenure in Canada, Ramesh was presented with the Alberta Centenary Citizen award in 2005 for contributions to the petrochemical industry in Alberta. Ramesh returned to the US in 2006 to Dow's headquarters in Midland, MI to take the role of senior director of global strategic planning and business analysis.

He then moved to the role of president and CEO of Dow Chemical India in October 2007. Ramesh serves on the board of Water health India Pvt Ltd., a non-government organization (NGO) active in providing drinking water solutions through the use of technology, and is also an advisory committee member for the Habitat for Humanity (India BUILDS) program.

In 2008, Ramesh was awarded the Asian Paints Padma Bhushan Dr. RA Mashelkar Medal and Chemcon Distinguished Speaker Award for Leadership at Chemcon, organized by the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers, recognizing his efforts taken in developing products and solutions addressing energy and sustainability.

Ramesh has received multiple awards in recognition of his business contributions, as well as holding several patents and publications to his credit.

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Ramesh was named as EQUATE President & CEO in November 2017. Prior to joining EQUATE, posted as CEO of MEGlobal at Dubai. In 2015, EQUATE bought MEGlobal and Ramesh became VP-Commercial. In 2018, to his managerial credits, EQUATE group made huge profits (more than 2billion USD) which no private company in Kuwait had ever dreamed.

It was his brain child to conceive, convince and construct an Ethylene Glycol plant at Oyster Creek, Texas at a cost of 2billion USD. This project was a great success in completing ahead of schedule with significant safety records and within the originally approved cost. Probably, this was his best achievement in his life.

Mrs. Latha Ramesh is a post graduate in biochemistry. She is a scientist in genetics and devoted her time in researching about molecular biology and cancer too. Ramesh met Latha first when she was visiting New York from the Bahamas where she was based. She subsequently joined Hunter College, NY for her Masters in Biochemistry while Ramesh was pursuing his PhD. working as deputy chairperson in LIC, Bahamas and Almost one year after they had met in New York, they got married in 1987 in Chennai. decided to marry after a while. Their marriage took place in the year 1988 at Chennai.

She relocated to the places where ever Ramesh was working and she remains his main strength. Though she indeed is an accomplished and well published scientist, she dedicated her time in shaping their children’s education and character besides supporting Ramesh. They have two children. Vinay, their son, completed Master’s degree in computer science from Columbia University and now working with Bloomberg.

After Vinay’s arrival, Latha and Ramesh wanted their second child to be a girl. Both scientists analyzed the best way to make sure the second child would be a girl and found the perfect solution -Since they were fond of a girl child, Tthey adopted Meghna, in 20012. Meghna is a true daddy’s girl and Ramesh admits that if there is one person who can make him agree to anything, it’s her. Meghna completed after completing her secondary school in Dubai moved to USA for her university education majoring in education and psychologymusic. Ramesh and his wife are very much attached Meghna.

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Ramesh is very well known for his result oriented management styles. His strength is team work. His expertise in placing the right person for the right work pays rich dividends towards his successful professional life.

He is very simple, straightforward and soft in nature. He says “once you accept some responsibility, you should not work 100% but 150% to fulfill the commitment”. After choosing the right persons for the assignment, he supports them strongly and monitors the progress. If things don’t move to his expectations, he analyzes the root cause and if he finds the hindrance is the very person with the responsibility, he doesn’t hesitate to replace him.

His next strength is his presentation skills. He judges the audience and introduces simplicity in his presentation to make them understand and absorb. His presentation skill is vindicated when he convinced “EQUATE board of directors to get the approval for investment of 2billion USD project in Texas”.

He had interests in music and drama since his school days. He plays Mridangam well. During the music seasons, he visits Chennai to listen to the popular music events. Also he is a very serious CSK fan!

Before closing this article about him, let us listen to his future ambition in his own words ;

“Life is not only about money, fame and luxury; once earned reasonably good amount, one should get the satisfaction of ‘enough’ and start leading a peaceful life. Today, I see that people have a goal in life but when they reach the goal, they move the goal post.

Contentment is a good thing especially when you have exceeded your goals. This constant desire to acquire and accomplish has to be challenged because we know life is finite – its time to give back. I am what I am today due to sacrifices made by others – my parents, my wife and other relatives.

I couldn’t be more grateful for what life has given me. I am blessed with everything by God’s grace. It’s time to give back to people and society now – groom the next generation and let them take the world forward. I want to do teaching in colleges and universities for the students who need more support; I should enjoy and continue with my passions for things that I could not continue during my earlier life”.



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