Anu Aga was born on 3 August 1942 in an upper middle-class Parsi family in Mumbai. She did her B.A. in Economics from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai,and post graduation in medical and psychiatric social work from the prestigious Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. She had also been a Fulbright Scholar and studied in the United States for four months.
Anu was married to Rohinton Aga, a graduate from the Harvard Business School and became parents to daughter Meher and son Kurush. Rohinton died in 1996 of massive stroke, and a little over a year later, her son Kurush died at the age of 25-years.
Thermax was set up by her father AS Bhathena in 1966 as Wanson (India) to provide a range of engineering solutions. The company was renamed Thermax in 1980 after her father retired. Her husband, Rohinton, headed it till 1996, when he died of a massive stroke. While Ms Aga was still finding her feet as the head of Thermax, she suffered a second tragedy – her 25-year-old son Kurush was killed in a road accident. Thermax’s growth had nose-dived at the time, with share prices plummeting from Rs. 400 to Rs. 36 because of the market downturn.
Anu started her career in Thermax in 1985 and later headed its human resources division from 1991 to 1996. After the death of husband, Rohinton Aga, she took over as Chairperson of Thermax, retiring in 2004 and succeeded by her daughter and company vice-chairperson, Meher Pudumjee. Anu has since remained on company’s Board of Directors,and involved with social work.In 2011, Ms Aga was ranked No. 79 on Forbes magazine’s Richest Indians list with a net worth of $655 million (Rs. 3,440.7 crore, at current rates).
She is also closely associated with the Thermax Social Initiative Foundation (TSIS). The foundation, in partnership with the municipal corporations of both cities and Akanksha, manages two schools for lower-income groups. She is also known for her to transparency in corporate governance.
Her favourite watersport is snorkeling, she told the magazine. “It is a whole new world under the sea.”