The founder of India’s largest coffee chain has gone missing.
VG Siddhartha, the founder of Café Coffee Day chain and one of India’s richest men, was last seen on Monday night walking across a bridge in the southern state of Karnataka, the Guardian reports. Coffee Day Enterprises, the company that owns the Café Coffee Day chain, said on Tuesday that its chairman, VG Siddhartha, had “not been reachable” since the previous evening. Police are searching for him on land and have conscripted divers to search the water.
Siddhartha founded Coffee Day in 1993 and opened the first Café Coffee Day in the tech center of Bangalore three years later. The company has since grown into India’s biggest coffee chain. Siddhartha also owns Asia’s largest coffee plantation. In 2015, Forbes estimated his net worth at $1.2 billion.
As the Guardian points out, Cafe Coffee Day has more than 1,700 outlets across 245 Indian cities as well as some international destinations. For comparison, Starbucks has just 150 stores in India.
As police search for Siddhartha and his family waits for answers, a possible farewell note has been found, per the Economic Times of India, but its authenticity has not been verified.
Because business is ruthlessly calculating, according to CNN, following the news, shares in Coffee Day Enterprises plunged 20% to a record low on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Tuesday.