Malavika Hegde – Meet the woman entrepreneur who saved the famous Indian coffee chain “Cafe Coffee Day (CCD).

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Malavika Hegde: The Inspiring Journey of a Resilient Leader as CCD CEO


In the realm of business leadership, there are individuals who rise to the occasion and make a lasting impact on their industries. One such inspiring figure is Malavika Hegde, the CEO of Café Coffee Day (CCD).

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Malavika Hegde with her late husband V.G. Siddhartha (Founder of CCD)

This article delves into the life, achievements, and contributions of Malavika Hegde, shedding light on her journey as the leader of one of India’s most popular coffee chains and her role in shaping the company’s success.

Early Life and Education:

Malavika Hegde was born and brought up in Bharat, and from an early age, she displayed exceptional drive, ambition, and a strong work ethic. She pursued her education in business administration, equipping herself with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate the competitive business landscape.

Entrepreneurial Journey:

Hegde’s journey as an entrepreneur began when she married V.G. Siddhartha, the founder of Café Coffee Day. Siddhartha had a vision of bringing the café culture to India, and together with Hegde, he set out to make that vision a reality. Under his leadership and guidance, CCD grew rapidly, becoming a household name and transforming the coffee-drinking experience in India.

Tragedy and Resilience:

However, tragedy struck in July 2019 when V.G. Siddhartha passed away. It was a devastating blow to the company and the entire CCD family. Amidst the grief and turmoil, Malavika Hegde displayed extraordinary resilience, stepping up as the CEO to ensure the continuity and growth of CCD.


In the face of immense challenges, including financial restructuring and intense competition, Hegde exhibited strong leadership qualities. She not only managed to stabilize the company but also charted a course for its future expansion and success. Her ability to adapt to the changing business landscape, make tough decisions, and rally the CCD team demonstrated her leadership prowess.

Reviving the Brand:

  • After the death of her husband, VG Siddhartha (Founder of CCD) – Malvika Hegde joined the coffee chain as the chairman, which had a whopping debt of over 7000 CR+. She wrote to all the 25,000+ employees that she would do her best to save CCD and carry forward the legacy her husband left behind.
  • Malavika Hegde met every single lender personally and asked them to renegotiate non-operational debt which reduced interest payments significantly. The group paid Rs 1,644 CR to its lenders. With the non-operational burden out of the picture, it was time to focus on operational efficiency.
  • She cut massive costs by shutting down unprofitable coffee machines. Surprisingly, those machines were at business parks “coffee” is prominent. CCD came from 1000+ outlets to just 500. Debt stood at 5000 CR now. Great work Malavika – but how will you generate money to pay the rest of the goddamn debt?
  • Simple – I will sell my stakes to shareholders. And, that is what Malavika did. CCD offloaded a portion of its stake to Mindtree, Shriram Credit Company, and Way2Wealth. This move got the debt down from 5000 CR to 2693 CR. She also raised money from Blackstone private equity, through a strategic acquisition of Global Village Tech Park in Bengaluru. Although it reduced the family’s stake in the company, the time demanded to preserve the legacy.
  • 2693 CR was still in a lot of debt. Malavika had no other option but to increase revenue to reduce liability. She struck gold in exporting high-quality Arabica beans from her 20,000-acre farm. The demand started going through the roof in foreign countries. She also launched the CCD Value Express kiosk, where customers could find a CCD outlet on the highway, in workplaces, theatres, or even within their favorite malls. The debt came down significantly to 1731 CR.
  • Cut to today, CCD has 572 cafes in 165 cities, 333 value express kiosks, and over 36,000 coffee machines. Malavika has reduced the debt to just 465 CR today. (95% reduction from where it started)
  • One of the key tasks undertaken by Malavika Hegde as CCD CEO was to revive the brand’s image and regain customer trust. She recognized the importance of addressing the concerns raised during the difficult period following Siddhartha’s death. Hegde implemented a strategic plan that focused on enhancing customer experience, improving quality control, and reinvigorating CCD’s brand identity.

Additionally, Hegde worked closely with the company’s management team to streamline operations, optimize costs, and drive innovation. She introduced new menu offerings, revamped store designs, and embraced digital advancements to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive market.

Expanding Footprint and Diversifying:

Under Malavika Hegde’s leadership, CCD continued its expansion plans and diversified its business. The company expanded its footprint in both urban and rural areas, targeting a wider customer base. It introduced smaller formats, such as kiosks and express outlets, to cater to the growing demand for quick and convenient coffee options.

Furthermore, Hegde identified the potential for CCD to expand beyond its core coffee business. She led the company’s foray into related segments such as bakery products, packaged coffee, and coffee machines. These strategic diversifications not only bolstered CCD’s revenue streams but also reinforced its position as a lifestyle brand.

Social Responsibility and Sustainability:

Malavika Hegde’s leadership extends beyond the boardroom. She has emphasized the importance of social responsibility and sustainability as integral components of CCD’s operations. Under her guidance, the company has undertaken initiatives to reduce its environmental footprint, promote ethical sourcing, and support local communities.

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Hegde recognizes the need for businesses to be catalysts for positive change and believes in creating shared value for all stakeholders. By aligning CCD’s business practices with sustainable principles, she is setting an example for the industry and contributing to a more environmentally conscious and socially responsible business landscape.

Inspiring Future Leaders:

As a successful businesswoman and the CEO of CCD, Malavika Hegde serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs and future leaders. Her resilience, determination, and strategic vision have allowed her to navigate through challenging times and steer CCD toward continued growth.

Hegde’s leadership style emphasizes collaboration, empowerment, and fostering a culture of innovation within the organization. She recognizes the importance of nurturing talent, and under her guidance, CCD provides opportunities for professional growth and development to its employees.


Malavika Hegde’s journey as the CEO of Café Coffee Day is a testament to her resilience, leadership acumen, and commitment to driving business success. Through her strategic initiatives, she has revived the brand, expanded its reach, and diversified its offerings. Moreover, her focus on social responsibility and sustainability sets CCD apart as a responsible corporate entity.

As CCD continues to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing market dynamics, Malavika Hegde’s role as the CEO remains pivotal. Her visionary leadership, combined with her dedication to quality, customer satisfaction, and ethical practices, positions CCD as a frontrunner in the Indian coffee industry.

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Malavika Hegde’s inspiring journey serves as a reminder that true leaders not only overcome adversity but also use it as a catalyst for growth and transformation. Her continued contributions to CCD and the business community at large make her a role model for aspiring entrepreneurs and a symbol of resilience and success.

More importantly, She never left the country. She raised her two children independently when her husband committed suicide due to debt. She got that same debt down in 2 years and continues to carry forward his legacy and now creating one of her own.

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