Yohan Poonawalla is the lesser-known cousin of the vaccine maker.
The Poonawalla family is perhaps the most well-known family in the country today thanks to Serum Institute of India that’s responsible for manufacturing Covishield. For most part, Adar Poonawala, the company’s CEO has been the face of the family during the pandemic. Adar has also been known in part thanks to his glamorous wife Natasha Poonawala. However, Adar Poonawala also has a cousin, who’s likely lesser known but just as glamorous.
Yohan Poonawala is about nine years older than Adar and manages the famed Poonawalla Stud Farms and Poonawalla Racing and Breeding. Yohaan Poonawalla and Adar Poonawalla are related to each other through their respective fathers. Yohan’s father Zavaray Poonawalla and Adar’s father Cyrus Poonawalla are brothers. Zavary, along with his brother Cyrus, co-founded the Serum Institute of India in 1966. Today, the Serum Institute is at the heart of India’s and indeed the world’s battle against COVID-19.
Besides managing the Poonawalla stables that are known worldwide for their top breeds of horses, Yohan Poonawalla also runs Intervalve Poonawalla Ltd, El-O-Matic India Pvt Ltd and Poonawalla Financials Pvt Ltd. Like the rest of his family, Yohan is a familiar face at the race courses in Pune and Mumbai.
According to his website, under Yohan Poonawalla, the Poonawalla Engineering Group has diversified its product portfolio and exports to over 46 countries. Unlike several scions, Yohan’s early education wasn’t in a foreign country or indeed in a big city in India but rather in Pune itself. He studied in Bishops School and Wadia College in Pune. It was only after he received is graduation in India that he flew overseas to study MBA in England.
But there is a lot to Yohan Poonawalla than his day job. It is a well-known fact that Yohan is an avid car collector and leans towards Rolls-Royce machines. He’s never hidden his love for RR and was one of the first people in India to own the Rolls-Royce Phantom. Reports even suggest that he’d spent an estimated £480,000 to customise the luxury vehicle.
By some estimates he has at least half a dozen Rolls-Royce machines, and some of them are classics. Yohaan Poonawalla also owns a fleet of customised Ferrari cars and a bunch of vintage wheels too.
Interestingly, despite being the head of one of the world’s best-known and highly respected stud farms, Yohan Poonawala doesn’t encourage his children to ride horses. He puts it down to a few falls he’s himself had and while his kids do own ponies they’re only allowed to walk them around their family’s vast estate and not ride them.