He passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 18, 6.30pm (July 19, 6.30am, Malaysian time) in New York City, surrounded by loved ones at 78 years old.

Datuk Jethanand Utumal Valiram

In 1955, a young boy at the tender age of 16 was thrust into the brutal world of business following the death of his father. Despite the extraordinary circumstances, Jethanand Valiram went on to dedicate his life to building the business from a small textile trade into what is known regionally as Valiram today, a conglomerate of luxury and lifestyle brands with a network spanning nine countries.

Datuk Jethanand, or Datuk Jetha as he was more fondly known, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 18, 6.30pm (July 19, 6.30am, Malaysian time) in New York City, surrounded by loved ones. He was 78 years old.

Datuk Jetha was a great patriarch of the family, whose entrepreneurial zeal and foresight revolutionised the Valiram enterprise through many chapters, growing stronger with each.

The company may have started off in the textile trade but in the 1980’s Datuk Jetha led the group’s business transformation towards yarn manufacturing and fabric and garment re-export.

In 1996, with the helps of his sons, he steered the company towards the next phase of Valiram’s evolution – lifestyle retail – by being the first company in the world to open a textile boutique at an airport. This got more global brands to come into the local retail scene as the group paved way to more new concessions in Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Today, Valiram is a global conglomerate, an umbrella that houses brands like Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Victoria’s Secret, Tumi, Bath & Bodyworks, among others. Up until his death, Datuk Jetha remained actively involved in the business as chairman and advisor, guiding the enterprise to international standards and beyond.

On the personal end, philantropy was also a cause close to his heart. He donated and was involved in charity generously with organisations like the Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Lions Club, Rotary Club and more. He was also on the management committees of the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Indian Chamber of Commerce and was the vice-president of the Sindhi Association of Malaysia.

He is survived by his wife Datin Champa Kirpalani Valiram, sons Sharan, Ashwin and Mukesh, daughters-in-law Lavina, Monica and Roshan and grandchildren Neerav, Divesh, Harein, Jiya and Aarav.

Rest in peace, Datuk Jetha.