Titan founder Xerxes Desai dies of dengue in Bengaluru

Bengaluru, June 27: Xerxes Desai, Titan watchmaker and founder passed away at Manipal Hospital here on Monday, (June 27) at the age of 79. He was suffering dengue and his health condition deteriorated due to other ailments. He is survived by his wife, Rajni Desai, son Shayesh, daughter Annahita and sister Armity Desai.

Desai's body will be brought home in the morning of June 30 (Thursday) and will be
cremated on the same evening, said Vikram Mulki, president of Decora, which had Desai at its helm for a long time. Desai had lived in the Defence Colony for a long time.


A man with a multifaceted persona, Desai was an animal lover, a classical music buff, a voracious reader and a visionary always full of new ideas and thoughts.

It is said that India's legendary industrialist JRD Tata had liked Desai's suggestion that the Tatas should venture into watch-making and picked him up for the task. Titan was soon to become the country's biggest watch manufacturer.

About Desai Education

Desai, completed his education from Elphinstone College (BA in History) and at Oxford University (MA in philosophy, economics and politics). He also serendipitously played a key role in introducing India to its first quartz watch in the late eighties when he set up Titan Co. Ltd (part of the Tata Sons), after enduring years of resistance from state-owned and now-defunct HMT Watches.

Desai was the managing director of Titan Industries Ltd, the former name of the watch-maker.

He also had experience in other Tata Group company such as Tata Chemicals, Tata Industries, Indian Hotels and Tata Press.

He came to the limelight after he took over six years to negotiate with the Tamil Nadu government to set up its factory in Hosur on the outskirts of Bengaluru.

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