Parag Desai (1974-2023) was an Indian businessman who was the executive director of the Wagh Bakri Tea Group. He died on 22 October 2023 after suffering a brain haemorrhage while he was trying to defend himself from a street dog that attacked him on 15 October 2023.
Parag Desai was born in 1974 (age 49 years; at the time of death) in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He pursued a master’s degree in business administration at Long Island University, USA.
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Parag’s father’s name is Rasesh Desai, who was the managing director of the Wagh Bakri Tea Group.
Wife & Children
Parag was married to Vidisha Desai.
Together, they have a daughter, Parisha Desai.
In 1995, Parag joined the family business ‘Wagh Bakri Tea Group.’ He was a fourth-generation member of the Desai family to join the business. The company focused on selling packaged tea in India, becoming the first company to do so. When he joined, his main focus was on branding, marketing and packaging for which he hired professionals. In an interview, he said that the company faced difficulties while selling packaged tea because people in India at that time were not convinced about buying packaged and branded items. The problem was solved after the 1985 riots in Ahmedabad when people were convinced that the quality of packaged tea was the same as the loose tea available in shops. In the interview, he further added,
We launched our packet in other parts of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. In those days, expansion was an issue as sales tax differed from state to state.”
Parag was the head of the company’s sales, marketing and export departments. He worked on launching tea lounges and strengthening the digital and social media presence of the company. He used innovative marketing, branding and packaging strategies and received an award from the Ahmedabad Management Association for this. He also worked on expanding the business by introducing products like iced tea and coffee. He also used to work as a tea taster and evaluator. He was included in the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). He used to taste 700 cups of tea every day. In an interview, he said that when he was on a vacation with his family in 1990, he sold the first pack of his tea in the US. While he was there, he realized that the Indians living in the country used to buy tea but were asked to buy 20 kg minimum so he thought of selling 5 kg tea bags there. His idea was executed when he visited a grocery store, met a Gujarati man and sold his tea to him. He sold his tea bag in the UK also. In the UK, he saw many Gujarati immigrants from Uganda who liked drinking Indian tea. So, Parag met a store person and sold him his tea bags.
Parag died on 22 October 2023 due to a brain haemorrhage at Zydus Hospital, Gujarat. On 15 October 2023, some street dogs attacked him while he was on a morning walk. He tried to escape from the dogs and fell down after which he suffered injuries on his head. He was immediately taken to Shelby Hospital after the security guard informed the family about the incident. He was kept under observation for one day and was shifted to Zydus Hospital for surgery later. He was kept on a ventilator for a week but he died on 22 October 2023. His last rites were conducted at the Thaltej crematorium. Shaktisinh Gohil, Rajya Sabha MP and Gujarat Congress chief expressed condolences on Parag’s death and wrote on X,
Very sad news coming in. Parag Desai, Director and owner Wagh Bakri Tea passed away. He had a brain hemorrhage following a fall. May his soul rest in peace. My condolences to the entire Wagh Bakri family across India.”
- Movies: Independence Day (1996), The Jurassic Park series, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)
- Gadgets: Samsung Galaxy E5, HTC M8, iPad air
- Book: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
- Brands: Zara, Marks & Spencer, Nautica, Selfridges
- Wagh Bakri completed 100 years in 2020. The company is famous for its logo which is very unique. It shows a tiger that represents the British and a goat that represents Indians drinking tea from the same cup.
- When Parag joined the company, its worth was Rs. 100 crore. In 2023, the company had a turnover of Rs. 2,000 crore. The company also distributes over 50 million kg of tea. It works across 24 Indian states and exports to 60 countries.
- He liked travelling and was very interested in wildlife. He used to participate in many sustainability projects.
- He was associated with charity groups like the Blind People’s Association (BPA) and Jivdaya Charitable Trust, which runs an animal hospital in Ahmedabad.
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