40 Women under 40
... adding zing to corporate India!
They are vivacious, ambitious and progressive; even better, they are systematically breaking down the glass ceiling for women in corporate India. What’s more they also know how to let their hair down... 4Ps Business & Marketing proudly celebrates the 40 dazzling damsels under 40 who have been resoundingly adding pep and passion to their companies over the last few years.
Why under 40, did you ask? Well, don’t go far, just look around in your workplace. What do you see? Tired middle aged bosses and colleagues? Surely not!
As modern workplaces tune into young and dynamic blood to take their businesses forward, chances are that more and more of your juniors, contemporaries and even bosses will be on the right side of 40, back slapping and spurring each other on to achieve greater highs everyday.
Young companies with younger managers are an ever-growing breed in post-liberalisation 21st century Indian business world, with ‘under-40’ having almost become a war cry for them. Young companies anyway prefer a brasher, younger workforce, while veterans are following close on heels, in the wake of their trailblazing success stories. There is another reason and that is India’s demography. The International Labour Organisation predicts that by 2020 India will have 116 million workers in the 20-24 age bracket. Already about 36% of her population is below the age of 15 years and nearly 37% in the 15- 35 years age group. Overall, receding hairlines are out and we thought we’d celebrate that!
Having resolved the issue of age; lets move on to gender. Why women under 40? After all, it has been more than two decades since The Wall Street Journal coined the term ‘glass ceiling’ and women professionals and entrepreneurs are now more accepted than ever in corporate world globally, and in India, right? Wrong! While women are no longer the proverbial needle in a haystack in Indian corporate boardrooms, fact is that they are still a rarity. A study done by CII in 2005 proclaimed that only 6% of the total employees (working in medium and large scale industries), comprise women. What’s more, of these, only a meagre 4% were at senior management positions, while the score was a hopeless ‘nil’ for women in leadership positions.
But equations are fast changing. Women have been taking large strides ahead in India Inc. in recent years and as modern families become more progressive, kitchen and children responsibilities are being easily shared. And while global wealth is zooming northward, a recent Barclays’ Report states that Asian women – including Indian businesswomen – are generating more wealth than their counterparts elsewhere in the world. What’s more, the report goes on to state that women in Asia “are often more thoughtful and purpose-driven when it comes to investment behaviour.” Coming from Barclays, that’s a big vote of confidence!
When the 4Ps B&M team set out to identify the 40 women under 40 who are setting India Inc. abuzz with their mind-boggling contributions, there was resounding support in our newsroom to incorporate young achievers from Bollywood in our listing too, although they don’t technically fit into the traditional mould of corporate India. And given the increasing business orientation of the tinsel town, complete with a marketing team in black suits and ties (see cover feature on page 26), we relented, selecting those women who are stars in there own right, albeit behind-the-scene.
And once our ‘young’ team set about meeting and talking to the ladies themselves or their peers and colleagues, we realised that our conviction in their steering India Inc. in near future was not wrong. Infectious enthusiasm apart, their achievements display tremendous vision, confidence, dynamism and a keen desire to excel against all odds.
Without wasting any more time, let’s get down to celebrating India’s 40 vivacious women under 40 who are setting trailblazing records in the Indian business world.
She only talks business!
Pooja SHETTY... it’s just a synonym for entrepreneurial
energy & skill in the hot media business!
This 29-year-old girl could easily pass for any sophisticated glamdoll. But then, she chose to walk away from easy fame and stepped onto the competitive media platform. That for you is Pooja Shetty, daughter of Manmohan Shetty and better known as an entrepreneur and Director of Adlabs Films Limited. A graduate in Science Management from Purdue University, Pooja is held responsible for the success of the world’s largest IMAX dome theatre and 4-screen multiplex at Wadala, Mumbai. When Reliance ADAG acquired a 51% stake in the company in 2005, Pooja managed the transition. This very active member of the Young Entrepreneurs Organisation also feels that she be judged on her performance and not on her personal life. Of late, she also received the prestigious GR8! Women Achievers Award and was featured as a young dynamic leader in Vogue magazine. All doubts on her leadership skills were further put to rest in September 2006, when she led the acquisition of a majority stake in Siddhartha Basu’s TV production house, Synergy Communications during which she asserted, “We’ve been thinking of creating a presence on TV for a long time, but were waiting for the right platform...” Now that’s a bedazzler in a hurry to succeed, but not too rash either!
Beri’ed in true fashion!
Ritu BERI... whose fl air has effortlessly grabbed the spot-lights and captured hearts & ramps, globally...
This lady has made India walk the ramps of Paris. She doesn’t have a role model but Francois Lesage, the master embroider has been a great inspiration. Many wrote her off when she launched her label in India 17 long years back, and surprise, surprise – she’s a hit today! Ritu Beri is currently a name in the fashion industry to reckon with, as her desire to take fashion beyond just clothes and accessories takes shape.
Ritu has showcased her collection in all the fashion capitals of the world and displays total confidence in the present day woman as she opines, “Today most women hold their own. They know what they like, what they want in life and how to get it. There were times when women were dominated by men, but gone are those days...” She’s come a long way from the successful launch of her first luxe collection in Paris in July 1998 (which followed her shows in New York, Russia, Morocco, Cairo et al). A few among her privileged list of clients are the Princess of Riyadh, former US President Bill Clinton, actresses Nicole Kidman and Andy Mcdowell, supermodel Laetitia Casta et al. She was featured by Time magazine amongst ‘People to watch in International business’ and her most cherished award till date remains the ‘Mahila Shiromani Award’. After the 2006 launch of her book, ‘Firefly – A Fairy Tale’, it has become clearer that the fashion designer is in for more, beyond just ordinary fashion...
(Sa)raf’ting to glory...
Devita SARAF ...a woman, in a world of computer hardware?! Now wait. She’s been there, done that!
In an era when India was singing hymns of imported PCs and laptops stamped with foreign names, one local company had the courage to stand up and compete – ‘Zenith Computers Ltd.’ And to believe there’s a woman behind the magic! Yes, under the vibrant leadership of its Executive Director (ED) Devita Saraf; today the brand has become a household name for PCs and in its 25th year, the company has only grown from strength to strength touching a splendid Rs.3.25 billion in annual revenues!
Devita explained her experiences of maturing in a maledominated computer hardware industry and candidly admitted that, “The challenges were more about my age than my gender. I was made ED at 21. Given so much responsibility at such a young age was quite testing. The dynamic business environment we were in was another challenge.”
And why was she different? Well, despite having covered so much ground, this lady was not the one hunting for the spotlight as she said, “I don’t believe in awards. For me, the real achievement is in increasing the value of my brand. Also, keeping the turnover consistent is another achievement.” Surely, here’s a lady who believes in the power of India and clearly displays the loud aspirations and the drive to achieve them.
‘Dutt’iful Indian doing her job!
Barkha DUTT ... call her a warrior, call her a brave Indian or simply call her a journalist, she’s done her mother proud!
She’s the personification of ‘courage and determination’ and is referred to as the ‘Indian Christiane Amanpour’. That in a line is Barkha Dutt, the 36-yearold Managing Editor of NDTV.
Barkha, who is credited with bringing the war-field into the living rooms, gathered fame through her extensive coverage of the 1999 Kargil war. According to Amit Malhotra, Media Analyst, “Barkha is a respected name in the industry and she has done a phenomenal job so far.” In 2004, she received the Whirlpool GR8! Women Awards. Year 2006 also saw her bagging the ‘Best Talk Show Anchor’ award at the Hero Honda ITA Awards ceremony. She also got the year 2005-06 ‘Journalist of the Year Award’ (in broadcasting) for her incredible reports from Nagapattinam.
“Enough!” did you just shout? Well, here’s more. From amongst nominations from 53 Commonwealth nations, this lady is all set to don the ‘Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) & Thomson Foundation Journalist of the Year’ crown for 2007 for her extensive coverage of the earthquake in J&K, campaign for justice in the Jessica Lal murder case and the communal violence in Vadodara. So, the next time you hear of a lady in a battlefield, remember, you read it before!
Ah! She’s a wo(hi)man(i)
Himani MODI ... in a corporate world strewn with pebbles. And she’s only got better in a decade...
She took her first step into the corporate world at the age of 21 and today can boast of having started four businesses and enjoying a board position in companies under Modi Group banner. Himani Modi started with a travelling agency and made it an IATA accredited agency. Then she forayed into pharma business, following it up with successful tie-up with Germany’s Merz & Krewo II (world’s leading B2B company) in 2000. During last year, she has successfully forayed into the lounge bar business, as Director, Barcode (in a tie-up with EDG of Australia). She voiced her faith in the ‘power of being a woman as, “If your base is strong and you have an aim in your mind and you are moving towards accomplishing it, it doesn’t appear too tough.”
Talking on the challenges, she commented, “Coming from a highprofiled family doesn’t help much as it depends upon the opportunities and the undying urge to prove yourself.” Surely, four successful starts and a decade later, she’s proved what a young lady can do... in the real tough world of business‘men’!
B‘O’uch! Money matters?!
Madhabi Puri BUCH ... proving that women can manage your earnings and give back rich returns too!!!
Madhabi Puri Buch, a graduate in mathematical economics and a management postgraduate from IIM(A) is now spearheading growth at ICICI Home Finance and ICICI Direct. After joining ICICI in 1989, she left it in 1992 and joined ANZ Grindlays Bank and later ORG MARG Research. She joined back ICICI in 1997 in Planning and Treasury Units and since then, has been an integral part of an entity which has more than 40% women employees in top management.
She admits that finance and banking which offer jobs that do not require much of travel and transfer are the best for women. As far as number-crunching is concerned, she believes it’s got nothing to do with ‘genetic code’ but depends on work atmosphere, job profiles and to great extent on the organisation’s gender friendliness.
As Executive Director at ICICI, she vouches that “ICICI stands as a model of gender friendliness.” As a technocrat she played a pivotal role in the acceptance of Tuxedo (an efficient and cost effective channel for transacting with customers). Apart from her varied responsibilities, she also looks after the operations, service delivery and corporate brand management functions. She was the key behind the birth of ICICI’s online trading initiative, ICICIdirect.com and the Group under her guidance is planning to spruce up its existing demat services too. So here’s to a woman who can manage your money as well!
Get real, it ain’t reel life!
Meghna ghai PURI proves that being a female fresher in the corporate world can get real reel-like...
She just passed out with a B.Sc. in management from King’s College, London and her father asked her to join him in his business... Today, she is Director, Whistling Woods International. Now wait, it’s not a typical Subhash Ghai reel script being referred to here. We’re talking of something more real; very real infact! Meghna Ghai-Puri, his daughter recalls, “Some time back, my father had expressed to me his passion for opening a world-class film institute and asked me to help him in it. It was an opportunity that a girl of my age (I was only 21 then) would rarely get. I eagerly grabbed it, and we successfully launched Whistling Woods International institute for Film, Television, Animation and Media Arts in Filmcity, Mumbai in July 2006.” That was just the start! In less that a year, Meghna Ghai has comprehensively proved that being a woman, and that too a beginner at that means almost no obstacles, if you have the zeal to accompany that as she elaborated, “I feel women are great at multi-tasking. We tend to be calmer in handling crisis situations. We are truly living in a woman’s world…” Talk about the ‘open-leadership’ style she follows and you would even start questioning the various theories on the subject. Surely, this ‘non-reel’ life tale is something to learn a ‘real’ lot from.
Monisha SHAH ... with her absolute need to do everything the right way, is surely making a difference
Monisha Shah is the 38 year old Director of Emerging Markets for BBC Worldwide. The lady idolises the common man in the dirty clothes. She says, “Education, work experience, high-powered jobs can never replace lessons that life teaches us. The more I travel and the more people I meet, the more aware I am that I have a lot to learn from the everyday person on the street.” Being a part of BBC Worldwide’s Global TV Sales team, Shah is responsible for sales in the Indian sub-continent, Africa, Middle East, CIS, Russia and Eastern Europe. She is credited with the first local productions in local languages (India and Africa), the first co-productions in Russia, and planning and implementing strategies for the growth of DVD business in the Middle East.
So in an arena dominated by the opposite sex, how challenging has it been for her? Her response: “The media industry internationally, is better balanced in terms of equal opportunities for both men and women. BBC specifically is a wonderful showcase for how to attract and motivate men and women equally in the workplace. I have to admit that I have personally woman in the media, and have had many opportunities to work with strong, inspiring personalities throughout my work life.” She lives her life on her own terms and makes her every single move count. For sure, a most charming lady, who’s globe-trotting her way to glory!
Ekta KAPOOR ... has comprehensively proved what a woman can do from behind television screens...
Aclassic example of an ugly duckling transformed into a swan, is Ekta Kapoor’s journey into stardom. Daughter of the famous yesteryear actor Jitendra, Ekta Kapoor, is now the Creative Director of Balaji Telefilms. At just 19, this Bombay Scottish School alumni, ventured into the television world. Thirteen years hence, she is referred to as the princess of Indian television industry! In 2001, she was awarded the Ernst & Young (E&Y) Entrepreneur Of the Year award. The Asia Week magazine also chose her as one of Asia’s most powerful communicators. She was inducted into the ‘Hall of Fame’ by the Indian Telly awards and was also crowned as ‘Young Global Leader’ by the Forum of Young Global Leaders (affiliated to the World Economic Forum) in the year 2006. While talking about Ekta, Kalyan Kar, Editor, exhange4media declared, “Ekta till now has done remarkably well. She has successfully introduced serials or soaps whose storyline revolves round the Indian family. But after doing the same things for 7 years, of late, she is faltering as her team is falling short of new story ideas.” But while critics complain of her soaps revolving around drab saas-bahu sagas, the TRPs of her shows definitely prove otherwise. And till that happens, we can continue enjoying prime-time suspense...
Who’s scared of heights?
Kiran CHHABRIA... has made sure that she doesn’t get lost in the crowd of ‘family’ achievers!
When you come from a family of achievers, ‘just’ to make yourself visible is toughest. What with all the spotlight on achievers near you? But hats off to Kiran Chhabria, for she managed to handle that really well. Currently Director (Marketing) at Jumbo Electronics (one of the largest global distributors of Sony products) and daughter of the late Dubaibased industrialist Manu Chhabria, better known as the liquor baron; corporate raider of the 80s or even better as ‘the takeover tycoon’ who completely changed the business scenario in Dubai.
Today, this young lady plays a crucial role on the board of Jumbo Electronics, which apart from Sony, has an impressive list of brands in its portfolio such as Nokia, HP, Acer et al. Talking about her company, she exclaimed, “As an expatriate business, headquartered in one of the most dynamic market economies of the world, we have enjoyed the cost and market advantages offered by Dubai’s excellent investment climate.” And so to say, Kiran too has come a long long way and is widely respected in the UAE today. With a degree in communications from Boston University, Kiran has taken her company to new heights, ensuring she didn’t get blinded with her personal success or get lost in the shadow of her sister Komal Wazir who is more prominent in Indian business circles. Here’s a toast to a lady who’s scaled ‘Jumbo’ heights without getting dizzy!
Priti’ creative all the way
Priti nair CHAKRAVARTHY... says cheers to the saucy lady. She came, she saw & she conquered!
She began her career sixteen years ago as a copywriter at DART Advertising, Priti Nair (Executive Creative Director of Lowe Lintas)is easily the most successful flavour of the big, bad world of advertising these days. Having joined Lowe in 1998, Priti, during her nine year stint with the agency, has created some of the most memorable advertisement campaigns, including the Balbir Pasha AIDS campaign and one for the India launch of AXE. She is credited with coming out with a brilliant tagline for Surf ‘daag achche hain’ and making ads around it. She is presently responsible for handling the regional portfolio of Surf across India, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and China and has worked on Greenply (sardar kid), Camlin Rudali and Idea campaigns. So what has been the biggest challenge this year for Mrs. Nair? “The challenge (overcome successfully) was doing Part 2 of the Surf Excel puddle war in India because when you have a success story behind you, it even more scary,” reveals Nair.
And how has the journey been for the lady in this male dominated society? “In the last 16 years in advertising, I haven’t felt this manwoman divide. If you work hard with commitment, it doesn’t really matter what sex you belong to. So, the journey has not been difficult just because I am a woman.” Heard that!
Ms. gorgeous grey cells
Shireen BHAN... her charming smile and effervescent intelligence present a lethal combination
She is 31, and is often referred as the BEST (Beauty, Elegant, Smart, Talented) by her mileslong fan following. The Delhi Bureau Chief and the Associate Editor of Current & Political Affairs at CNBC-TV18, Shireen is a St. Stephen’s graduate and did her Masters from Film and Television Institute, Pune. The beautiful lady who gives more importance to editorial authority and integrity than looks, says that she does not idolise anybody. So how tough is it to survive in a man’s world? “Earlier the battle was harder, but now the glass ceiling has finally been broken,” she avers. Although the BEST lady started her journey with UTV, for the past seven years, Shireen has been anchoring and producing for CNBCTV18 and is credited with breaking some of the biggest corporate stories of her time, including the Vodafone- Hutch deal and the Bharti-Walmart JV. From Bill Gates to Richard Branson to Benazir Bhutto to Deepak Chopra, Shireen has interviewed some of the biggest names nationally and internationally. “I don’t consider myself to be a successful achiever,” says Bhan modestly. Her impressive list of awards includes the Women of 2005 award for her contribution to the media by FICCI. Summing up in her own words, she says, “I am a woman striving hard to be independent and find my own voice in today’s world. I am passionate about my work and try to put in the best that is possible.” We don’t doubt that for a minute...
HBO’s leading light!
Shruti BAJPAI... don’t be deceived by her soothing appearance, this one’s a hardtaskmaster
It may sound clichéd, but Shruti Bajpai, (Country Manager, South Asia, HBO) is a live example of what we call beauty with brains. The style and elegance that forms her persona combined with her unbeatable intelligence (and all this just at the age of 36!) is what brings this lady to the 4Ps B&M list of ‘40 under 40’.
An MBA from Jamanalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Shruti has taken HBO to even bigger heights in emerging Asian markets; partnering HBO’s journey since its inception in India in 2000. Ever since she has steered the channel and consolidated it, with the objective of establishing the HBO brand in the India. On being quizzed upon how difficult is the corporate journey for women; Shruti says, “I don’t believe in the issue of gender bias. I’ve had a positive experience throughout my professional life with a lot of encouragement from my employers.”
She currently holds the responsibility of managing HBO’s complete business in India. Under her visionary leadership, HBO has become the preferred destination for entertainment. The channel has won the Indian Telly Awards for the ‘Best English Movie Channel’ for three consecutive years (2004, 2005 and 2006), a fact that speaks volumes about Shruti’s visionary strategies and the success that has followed.
Want a million dollar tip?
Manisha GIROTRA is the person you need to contact. She is the India Inc.’s goddess of money
Five years earlier we were advising foreign companies to acquire businesses in India. Now we are advising Indian companies to go abroad,” says Manisha Girotra, Chairperson, UBS, India. And that’s the influencing power that this dynamic lady wields in India’s corporate circles.
Yes, in a predominantly Male industry, where females are supposed to simply make a guest appearance - get married and s h i m m y away in the darkness, there are few names, which have been able to carve a niche for themselves in the tedious world of business finance. Manisha Girotra of UBS, India is definitely a shining example in the sector, for others to follow.
She may be young but she is no newcomer to the Indian capital markets. Having set up the New Delhi office for UBS, the Swiss investment bank in 1994, she has gone on to head the company’s operations in India from Mumbai. Manisha – a Delhi School of Economics topper has worked with ANZ Grindlays and BZW Investment Banking, before making her resounding presence felt in UBS in the year 1998.
From 1998 to 2007, she has been a part of some very high-profile deals. Jet Airways’s awe-inspiring IPO, Videocon acquiring the picture tube business of French consumer electronics major Thomson Electronics and Vodafone’s entry into India via a 10% stake in Bharti Tele-Ventures, Manisha Girotra has played a major in all three big ticket deals. Her involvement in the ADR offerings of Infosys and ICICI Bank, and privatization of VSNL, IPCL, BALCO and GAIL, all make up a pretty interesting resume for the lady!
Live it up & pen it down
Pooja JAIN... is smart and sassy and she also knows how to make work fun!
While inheriting a readymade business may not be a tough nut to crack, the accomplishment of making Luxor the market leader in India is hers alone. As Executive Director, Luxor Writing Instruments since 2005, she has catapulted the Group to a Rs.300 crore entity, boasting world-class brands like Parker, Waterman, Paper Mate and Pilot. The Group is also the largest exporter in this segment, exporting to over 110 countries and has maintained its position for three consecutive years.
Other accomplishments for Pooja include setting up the Business-to- Business (B2B) division of the Luxor Group and launch of new products like Planet Sports. Pooja told 4Ps B&M: “Planet Happy is more than just a pen and I would rather put it as colouring, learning, fun product.” Crediting her passion and constant innovation for her success, Pooja’s next big plan is for her chain of designer stationery stores called ‘Signature’. Achievement for her goes way beyond awards and she is extremely proud of the acclamation that her products have got.
In addition to her responsibilities in the writing instruments business, Pooja is also leading the Group, under the guidance of her father, into other diversified businesses like hospitality, real estate and broadband. One advice that she would happily give to today’s working women is to, “Never Give Up!”
Boy, C(Kh)an she dance?
Farah KHAN... this bindas choreographer turned director is making Bollywood dance to her tunes
Bollywood has often been accused of hands-down chauvinism when it came to women at the helm – the coveted Director’s chair. So when top choreographer, Farah Khan, took up the challenge of a commercial flick with superstar Shahrukh Khan, skeptics ran from pillar to post dooming Khan’s collaboration with a woman director. But the lady in question is least bothered. “I don’t think it’s (male bias) true and it depends entirely on the kind of work you do. However there may be a lot of discrimination in the industry otherwise,” says Khan who is getting ready with her next venture ‘Om Shanti Om’.
From tinsel town’s top choreographer to a top-of-the-line director and the only woman to be nominated as best director at the Filmfare awards in 2004, Farah Khan has proudly announced her capabilities to the world, in a ‘male-dominated’ field. As choreographer, her living room flaunts numerous national and international awards and she’s perhaps the only dance director from India to have been nominated for Broadway’s 2004 Tony Award as Best Choreographer for “Bombay Dreams.” So be it Shakira’s voluptuous onslaughts or SRK’s defined dance moves, Farah has truly blazed her trail all the way.
Parle’s pearly ‘pet’ girl!
Schauna CHAUHAN... launching Frooti in Pet bottles was her brainchild, and a blaring success
She created an impact at 30 – quite an early age! Schauna Chauhan Saluja was made Director on board of Parle Agro Pvt. Ltd., in February 1999 and her accomplishments ever since elevated her to post of Chief Executive Officer, Parle Agro in August last year. In charge of overall operations including finance, legal, manufacturing and exports, this international business management graduate from the Business School Lausanne had been groomed for the top post early in life.
Her contributions have ranged from streamlining and strengthening human resources, implementing new manufacturing facilities, planning backward integration projects for the Group and also strengthening the existing brand portfolio –Frooti, Bailley, Appy and Appy Fizz.
“While most of us may never become recognised as ‘great’ leaders, we can always continuously develop to be ‘better’ leaders,” she avers modestly. Working in a male dominated world really doesn’t matter to her; for success, gender is not the important factor. She believes, progress depends on each one’s ability, potential and whether or not you can motivate people.
As CEO of Parle Agro, Schauna Chauhan has been able to give products like Frooti, Appy and N-Joi a commendable international presence.
And guess what is the life mantra for this swashbuckling, jetsetting tycoon: “Ac h i e v e m e n t means satisfaction. Perseverance and loyalty to one’s work always pay off.”
Gen-next ‘glib’ Godrej
Nisa GODREJ... charming and vivacious, a legendary surname only adds to her dynamism!
“I’ve learned a lot from my father and the people with whom I work, because I was treated like an employee rather than an owner. And this tradition of Godrej, I have carried among my children. Be it my son or my two daughters, all had to go through a proper training and have global exposure before they hold their today’s positions. No wonder my daughters have been able to bring in so much emotional intelligence in the organisation,” a proud Adi Godrej, Chairman of Godrej Group of Companies told 4Ps B&M. And the claim is far from being a hollow boast, when one considers the case of his youngest daughter - Nisa
Boasting a degree from Wharton Business School, Nisa traveled the same strenuous path in the family-controlled business as any other employee, beginning her corporate journey as an intern in the marketing department of Godrej Sara Lee. However, her people skills soon enabled her into the position of Assistant Manager in the Human Resources department (HRD) of Godrej Industries. Hungry for more, Nisa next proved her awesome communication skills and became Manager, Corporate Development, Godrej Industries. A keen participant in Godrej’s management committee meetings, Nisa may have been born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but she has a legendary legacy to live up to. And going by her zeal, success may just be around the corner.
The mar(s)tian hotelier
Rachna NARANG... the gourmet queen now has ‘designs’ on the global hospitality sector
Born with a silver spoon in her mouth to the famous hotelier Narang family, Rachna Narang never thought that she would step into the business world. But coaxed by her brother Sanjay, she did and is today sitting perched as Director of International division in MARS Group. A Cornell University Graduate in liberal arts, her 16 years experience in conceptualising, designing and operating chains restaurants, has enabled successes like Croissants et al (a bakery outlet chain) to rest snugly under her belt.
Says Shitij Deopujari, Manager, Intercontinental Hotels: “Rachna Narang has excelled in the hospitality industry.” Today the brother sister duo are proud owners of the Mars Group, with a virtual smorgasbord of restaurants, boutique hotels, leisure clubs and airline catering brands.
Within the group, Rachna heads the in-house design team, responsible for the look of each outlet. From designing crockery to writing out details in the menu card, she does it all. Mars plans to invest over Rs.1 billion & has a target of a turnover of Rs.1.5 billion this financial year. Flying high with accomplishments, here’s one lady who will never say that only the ‘Men are from Mars’. She’s virtually sitting in Mars and holding the sceptre over the gastronomic cravings of millions...
Pratibha ADVANI... Ghoomta Aaina made her a household name; not that she needed an intro!
Elegance and leadership are in the genes of this multi-faceted lady… and despite being the daughter of L.K. Advani, she has created an identity for herself as Managing Director, Swayam Infotainment, a leading production house that makes programmes for a number of TV channels. Known to be ultra soft-spoken, Pratibha Advani, has a mind of her own and having dabbled in zoology, real estate and acting, she now is seemingly content with her entrepreneur initiative in TV programming. Since politics runs in her blood, Pratibha has also written columns for the English mouthpiece of RSS ‘Organiser’, besides accompanying her father for ‘yatras’.
A proud L.K. Advani spoke at length to 4Ps B&M about his daughter: “Pratibha has been doing very well and whatever she has achieved has been on her own merit and ability. She made two decisions before entering the television industry. First, not to deal with politics at all but only with entertainment, business or health and second, to avoid using her surname as much as possible to gain influence. In fact, I still remember an interesting incident. When she interviewed Vidhu Vinod Chopra he said that the biggest problem in the film industry is piracy and the Home Minister (then LK Advani) was doing nothing about it. Later on a colleague of his told him that Pratibha is Advani’s daughter. He felt guilty and called to apologise.”
Jump into the ireena!
Ireena VITTAL... extremely high on retail and consumerism. And this brainy lass loves complications.
Complicating the simplicity of business is the hallmark of Ireena Vittal. For over a decade now, she has been with the world’s best known consulting firm McKinsey & Company as Partner. She has been eminently successful with her complicated yet simple (enriched with facts, figures and logic) advice to clients in retail, consumer goods, and the energy sector, et al.
Her philosophy of life is very simple. As a person she emphasizes more on the present and feels proud to be a part of present day India, an India which is poised to take off. According to Vittal, the more the competition the more the noise and better the results; perhaps that’s why she continues to encourage her clients to welcome all competition. Her colleagues at McKinsey told us that “Ireena infuses competition amongst the team members and that is the key to our success.”
And in an age when every business is looking at ways to conquer the Indian consumer, she has worked on bringing out exemplary McKinsey reports on the growth of Indian consumerism and suggested ways for MNCs for “Winning the Indian Consumer.”
Speaking about her passion, Rahul Goenka of KPMG Bangalore (formerly McKinsey) told 4Ps B&M that Ireena is a fun loving woman “who knows how to successfully balance the professional and the personal halves of life… her ability to make complex matters simple and vice-versa is simply unique!” Here’s a toast to the McKinsey woman!
Nett(o)ing in moolah
Cheryl NETTO... She lives, breathes and eats fi - nance and enjoys it every step of the way!
When India was just growing up to the nuances of the financial sector, one lady had already grasped its long-term potential. Cheryl Netto, Executive Director of JM Financial, a leading investment banking firm. Speaking to 4Ps B&M, she said “I joined JM Financial 15 years back. When I started my career, women working in banks were a common sight, but not so in investment banking. I realised that it was not a place for the weak-hearted, since it demanded long working hours and focused client management.”
So, did she face major difficulties in this male-dominated field? “JM Financial is an equalopportunity firm and gave me the platform to pursue my ambitions, grow and be recognized as an individual with the same aspirations as my male counterparts.” She does believe that women have more tolerance and empathy, which gave them an edge at the workplace.
Not only that, she has also gone one step ahead and charted out her future plans as well, looking forward to anchor a social initiative where she can leverage her knowledge of the financial world and client network. “I believe there is ample scope for young women to make their mark globally. You must stay committed and focused on your goals and believe in yourself,” is her advice to women professionals. Shall we say, more power to women empowered?
Si(n)gh of relief for DLF!
Pia SINGH... is adroitly leading her real estate chariot into uncharted growth territories. Competitors beware!
The booming real estate bears a gloomy picture of the fairer sex... perhaps with the exception of Pia Singh who has more than registered her presence in the real estate sector, that too in a flamboyant manner. For the uninitiated, before successfully leading the Digital Talkies entertainment venture for the DLF Group, Pia worked for the risk underwriting department in GE Capital and also played an integral part in building the DLF Golf and Country Club. A graduate from the Wharton School and with a film-making course from New York University under her belt, Pia today sits pretty as the Director of DLF Universal & MD of DLF Retail. And with DLF dominating India’s real estate sector under the leadership of her legendary father KP Singh, Pia is all set to make the group an established retail player now.
As she explains, “DLF retail is well poised to capitalize on its strengths as a comprehensive solution provider in the entertainment and leisure segment by bringing best of quality, service, design and mall management skills into its retail operations.” With DT Cinemas, Pia has already ushered in a revolution in the recreation and entertainment arena and though the entertainment and retail sectors have witnessed a rise of many players, Pia is confident that DLF retail and Entertainment will soon make a mark of its own. With her ambitions firmly in place, this one’s on her way to take DFL to irresistibly greater heights.
‘Park’ed in hospitality
Priya PAUL... fi nds herself in an industry which is on a roll and is expectedly laughing out loud!
Priya Paul, the Director of Apeejay Surrendra Group and President of Park Hotels, has been a frank and forthright entrepreneur in the hospitality sector. An Economics graduate, her soaring growth chart in the hotel industry has made more than few envious of her grit and gumption.
Conferred the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award at the turn of the millennium, by the Federation of Hotels and Restaurants Association of India, her sophisticated demeanour hides behind it a determined-to-succeed entrepreneur.
Being in the service industry, Priya is an out-an-out people’s person. Rupa Thomas, Associate Director, Corporate Communications for the Park Hotels says that Priya Paul believes her biggest asset to be her team, “which makes it great to work with her and work for her.” As a result, Priya takes great personal interest in the growth and development of all her employees that has led to the formation of an exhaustive training calendar for all management trainees, while seniors managers are sent to Harvard and Cornell to study international trends.
“She meets every employee of the various units of ‘The Park’ formally and informally to understand their needs and to thank them for helping her realise her dream,” says a source in The Park.
Paul believes work should be fun, and combined with her unswerving belief in her employees, is making them determinedly stand by her side in taking The Park chain to great heights.
“Wow!!!”, isn’t she?!?!
Rangita pritish NANDY... is a dexterous go-getter, with no ‘side-effects’ whatsoever!
As Creative Director, Pritish Nandy Communications, Rangita has received rave reviews for some of her acclaimed films like Jhankaar beats, Chameli, Shabd and Pyaar Ke Side Effects. Speaking to 4Ps B&M, Pritish Nandy fondly enumerated his daughter’s contribution to the company. “Rangita was barely in her teens when she joined us, but she brought a new generation perspective to the company. She has changed the way we run our business and has strengthened the youth element in our corporate structure, made it more vibrant. This is vital for a company like ours.”
And with 9 years of experience under her belt, what is her mantra for success today? “Rangita is creatively sound, so she has the ability to discover new ideas. Besides, she is excellent at team-building and management, which are very important,” says Pritish. With such allround qualities, how could one go wrong?!
Building ‘her’ reputation
Shalaka GULABCHAND... if you thought construction was not a woman’s business, think again!
There are many Indian business houses, where female family members have been forced to stay away from active participation. But of course there are certain notable exceptions too and Ajit Gulabchand is proud to be a part of this exceptional club. Managing Director of Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), Ajit believed in the potential of his only child – Shalaka Gulabchand and she is assiduously working toward proving her father right.
Flaunting a bachelors degree from Boston University, Shalaka joined the family business in 2000 as an executive in planning & business development. No short-cut entry for this lady in her father’s business. But being amidst the board of directors was never her only ambition either. She wanted to participate actively and be an everyday part of the business.
Her enthusiasm propelled her toward acquiring knowledge of virtually every department in the company, starting from equipment to finance. Shalaka’s relentless efforts paid off and today she happily occupies the position of General Manager, Planning and Development, Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), and her shrewd strategies and vision are enabling HCC to bag lucrative contracts.
Sources within HCC confirmed to 4Ps B&M: “She’s doing phenomenally well and has been contributing a lot in our recent achievements. Overall, within a short span of time, she has been able to show her talent to the hilt.”
However, Shalaka is not only about laying pipes and preparing excellent business plans, instead being a perfect blend of business, sports and arts. A fanatic sports-person, Gulabchand has excelled as a juniors tennis player at the State level. Cheers to this young achiever who has broken into the traditional male bastion of construction.
The number cruncher…
Vedika BHANDARKAR... In a male dominated domain (well, aren’t all?!), she’s the ‘king’ dealmaker
Be it the TCS public offering, ONGC’s acquisition of MRPL from the Aditya Birla Group or the restructuring of ADAG, the credit indubitably goes to Vedika Bhandarkar, MD and Head Investment Banking, JP Morgan India. Miles ahead of her rivals in stealing deals, indisputably one amongst corporate India’s most successful women, she is an expert when it comes to executing and closing deals. A vivid reader with great number crunching abilities, Bhandarkar manages to find ample time to attend Kathak dance classes with her daughter. Maintaining a very low profile, Bhandarkar elucidates, “I believe Cindrella Complex is gradually coming to an end, you see a number of women are heading verticals/organisation.” She honestly attributes a great part of her learning to the project finance division of ICICI Ltd. Having spent more than a decade and a half in financial services, she has mastered the art of exuding aggression with suppleness. Well, operating in an environment truly dominated by men, Vedika is one lady making all women proud!
She saw a future in Saw
Sminu JINDAL... She put the groove back in the Jindal Group, and made ‘infrastructure’ a statement
In an industry that tests the best out of even the toughest of men, Sminu Jindal, Managing Director of Jindal Saw (part of $4 billion Jindal Group) remains an exception. Though she was in her teens when she joined the company as a trainee, her appointment was no less than a blessing for Jindal Saw. She turned around the sick unit into a profitable venture in the very first year of joining by pioneering the production of ultra thin gauge steel that was unheard of in that era.
Not only this, she has been instrumental in bringing about a complete image makeover of the company at every level of operation. Her acute business Acumen has also helped position the company as a competitive global player bagging major international contracts.
Sminu shared with 4Ps B&M, “I get even more stubborn, when the going gets tough & work towards making a way and put all my energies into it.” Work holds top priority in her list and she believes her true calling is to ensure that Jindal remains the largest infrastructure player with enough diversification to make the stakeholders happy. She has also initiated some groundbreaking social cause projects under Svayam provides wings to people with reduced mobility. A lady with a difference is all that we can say about Sminu, but she for sure knows her business.
Can ya do it? Tanya can!
Tanya DUBASH... Packing a powerload in her punches & running Godrej like nobody’s business
Any lesser mortal would have found it tough to lead a business (and that too of the stature of the Godrej Group) at the age of 28 years; but Tanya Dubash, daughter of Adi Godrej, had some different plans.
Today, this dynamite Executive Director of Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (GCPL) has made it to a list of 25 Indians featured amongst global leaders of 2007 by World Economic Forum. Over a period of time, GCPL has developed an impressive portfolio of leading brands like Cinthol, Fairglow, Snuggy and Ezee in soaps, toiletries, health care, baby care and fabric care segments amongst others. Recently, GPCL acquired Keyline Brands Ltd in UK, thus further adding to its broad portfolio of products. However, the journey hasn’t been that easy for Tanya in the presence of global FMCG giants like HLL and Procter & Gamble, but the lady fighter, with her inspirational leadership, has been successful in creating GCPL’s own niché in the market. Such has been the success story of GCPL that Q4 FY2006-07 sales increased by 27% while the net profit went up by 29%. So where lies the future for her? Ensuring that the brand name is not only recognised in India, but is also considered as one of the top ones amongst the global biggies. Well, can she do it? For once, Tania just might...
You can lose! Yet win!
Pooja BHATT... believes in the above statement with more dedication than most people in the world
She can take the accolade of being one of the most famous failures (in terms of revenues) in almost all her most entrepreneurial ventures, yet fighting back like there’s no tomorrow. Her stepping into Bollywood was never seen as a surprise, but her decision to venture into production surely shocked one and all. Pooja Bhatt, daughter of Mahesh Bhatt, took up producing films with the movie ‘Tamana’ under the banner of Shreya Creations. The movie, however, could not break any box-office records, but its emotional narration shook the soul of many and enabled Pooja to bag a national award for that.
Pooja took up direction with Paap, but despite having John Abraham and Udita Goswami, even this movie failed miserably. Another film of Pooja (Holiday) was released in February 2006, and following the herd, flopped! Did all these setbacks hit her hard? As Pooja states, “What I’ve learnt while growing up was that people who were cautious didn’t really attain lasting success. You only leave a mark when you don’t conform. To be able to speak from your heart – as opposed to from the mouth – is what it takes; though it backfires too! To follow my heart at all times is what I’ve learnt.”
Being candid and flamboyant is what Pooja has been known for... and even her films reflect that. Be it by her production or her stint with direction, her spontaneity will definitely work one day. Surely!
Kinetic energy=1/2 mv2
Sulajja firodia MOTWANI... She made automobiles a fashion statement, and taught us the art of winning
Sulajja Firodia Motwani is perhaps the only woman in the top echelons of India’s automotive industry. She is solely credited with making Kinetic a major two wheeler player in the country. On the future strategy of her company, Sulajja Motwani revealed to 4Ps B&M, “Kinetic’s strategy is two pronged. One is to leverage its strong brand for its growing two wheeler business and offer exciting products. And two is to leverage the manufacturing strengths in Kinetic Engineering to build a world class business.” Designated as the Managing Director of Kinetic Motor Company, Motwani is an MBA from the most respected Carnegie Mellon and has been a high performer in all walks of her life. The high performance has naturally trickled down to the business side as well. After the phenomenal success of Kinetic Honda, the company has moved many steps forward. Under agreements with Korean motorcycle maker Hyosung, Kinetic has brought a slew of mainstream bikes such as Aquilla and Comet 250. Recently, Sulajja led Kinetic to finalise key partnerships with many global companies in an attempt to broaden its portfolio.
To d a y, Indian business women are hell bent on proving themselves and Motwani is one of the leading bulwarks in this context! Leaders like Motwani have made it big on their sole grit, and after the revving up, the blast off is just round the corner.
She has perfect relations
Valerie PINTO... There’s something strange in your neighbourhood! Who you gonna call? Valerie Pinto
A national level athlete champion, a Mumbai University topper in Economics, for Valerie Pinto, it was perhaps last year that saw her biggest achievement and probably the most challenging one when she took over as the Chief Operating Officer, Perfect Relations, the country’s largest public relation agency. Valerie is looked upon for her dynamism and dedication to work. With her strong leadership skills, Valerie services clients, makes her presence felt on the field, makes the science of image management work and produces results. She proudly and happily informs, “I guess I must be the youngest ever COO. When I meet clients and win pitch presentations against professionals from agencies who probably have twice as much experience than I have, it gives me great thrills and is a fulfilling experience for me.”
Pinto joined Perfect Relations in 1997 as an Image Executive and since then has grown the Western region operations gigantically with result oriented image management initiatives and inculcation of a culture of excellence. And if that was not enough, she has been associated with names like UTV and Universal PR before her glorious career with Perfect Relations. And her ambition in life? To make the most of every moment lived and to add value to every person she meets.
So if you need PR and were wondering who to call, don’t call the ghostbusters, call her!
The BRICs & mortar lady
Roopa PURUSHOTHAMAN... That side of Atlantic, she made India every analyst’s favourite example
Much has been talked about Goldman Sachs’ ‘BRIC Report’ or Brazil, Russia, India and China report, which envisages that India will globally be #3 in terms of GDP by 2050. But how many of us actually know that there’s an Indian mind behind this report, which puts these four developing nations in the forefront of the GDP charts in next 50 years. Quoted by everyone, the BRIC tenure made a second-generation Indian American economist become famous overnight. We are talking about former Executive Director in Goldman Sachs – Roopa Purushothaman – who, along with Dominic Wilson, created a report whose impact was nothing less than sensational. But apart from putting India on the global business map with her fresh thinking, this London School of Economics graduate has created a mark with her work on demographics, global integration and migration.
She wanted to be a part of the huge developmental change that India is undergoing and the retail raja Kishore Biyani, who has revamped the retail segment, fitted the bill perfectly. Points out Kishore Biyani, CEO of Future Group, “India is developing and we need young economists like her.” She now plays the role of Chief Economist and Strategist at the Future Group and is busy finding out the impact of income on consumption patterns in small towns.
Don’t go by her jingles
Renuka JAYPAL...is a blast from the past you would surely, always love to remember
‘You and I in this beautiful world’, when you hear that, remember Renuka Jaypal, a beautiful lady behind the most successful ad campaigns of Hutch in India. Starting her professional journey way back in the 1990s with Rediffusion DY&R, the lady joined Ogilvy in 1992 and has been associated with Ogilvy ever since. Though she took a break to try her skills at production, she returned to Ogilvy and started handling Maxtouch, which was rebranded as Orange in 2000. She was also involved in the launch of Hutchison Telecom an continued to head the brand across six Ogilvy India operations.
Renuka served Ogilvyone India as President for more than two years before she headed to look after the ageny’s Indonesian operations. Kaizad Pardiwalla, President, OgilvyOne Worldwide, India says, “Renuka has great strategic acumen and a flair for creativity as well. This combination has proven invaluable to the clients. She is one of the nicest persons I know.” Piyush Pandey, Group Head and National Creative Director, O&M, shared with 4Ps B&M, “Renuka is the lady who built the Hutch brand. She is well recognized to become the Chairman of Ogilvy Indonesia.” So where’s her future? Well, all we can say is that India’s loss is Indonesia’s gain.
TIME believes in her!
Sheetal MAFATLAL...has been rated as India’s Fashion Retail Pioneer by the TIME Magazine
Known for her flamboyant style and elegance, Sheetal Mafatlal is the President of Mafatlal Luxury Ltd. When Sheetal, the style icon, married Atulya Mafatlal in 2000, she joined one of the oldest industrial families of India. Sheetal, who started with her father’s business, ultimately carved a niche for herself as a businesswoman by selling modular kitchens before founding Mafatlal Luxury. Interestingly, Sheetal fits the ‘beauty with brains’ plume perfectly, with degrees in finance & law.
She established Mafatlal Luxury in 2005 when the Mafatlal Group chose to make a strategic foray into luxury retailing. Not only this, she is also President of Mafatlal Home Products Ltd. The lady who always wanted to do something connected to fashion, brought luxury and fashion together by partnering with Valentino Fashion Group and opened the first Valentino boutique in Delhi last year.
“My ambition is to create a retail commemorate for a variety of brands,” Sheetal told 4Ps B&M. With so many feathers already on her hat, she was also profiled as India’s Fashion Retail Pioneer by TIME Magazine. The future would surely see Sheetal dictate India’s fashion essentials...
She sells coconut oil?
Rajvi MARIWALA... does that in Marico & maybe better than anybody else in the industry ever could
She’s only 27 and joined her family business just last year. But what makes her stand out in the masses? Especially when there’s a long list of industrialists’ children who are born with silver spoons and are fortunate enough to join the family legacy at their very first job. Well, Rajvi Mariwala opted out of that list! Born in the Mariwala family, which owns the coun- try’s leading FMCG business – Marico Group – Rajvi, at the age of 27, has the experience of working in two global firms and joined the $250 million Marico Group – as a Brand Manager – only her third job once she had proven her mettle outside in non-family firms.
An MBA from the prestigious University of Geneva, Rajvi worked with the USA based Merci Corps North West and also with Trikaya Grey. Bucked up with international experience, she joined the Marico Group in 2006 with a mission to uplift the position of the brands. CMD Harsh Mariwala needed his daughter to ensure the proper branding of many of the brands that Marico had been buying over. A FICCI FMCG analyst, who has also worked with the Mariwala, confirmed, “Rajvi understands sales and branding very well. One year is too short to prove her contribution but she will definitely do great with all the brands in Marico’s portfolio.” Not many women her age reach even half her level. And Rajvi, the exemplar ever progressive woman, has shown how to make the most of circumstances, even with the cliched silver spoons. She makes our list with gumption!
“I’m no big deal, eh!”
Sangeetha SHETTY... fi rmly believes that that is the case and refuses to accept accolades, modestly so
In an era where people believe in shouting about their role in the success of their organization, she is different. Meet Sangeetha Shetty, Executive VP, Management & Creative Services of R K Swamy, BBDO, an organisation that has an impressive clientele list such as Mercedes, VISA, SBI, Faber-Castell and Raymond amongst others.
Ask her about her achievements and the lady modestly shrugs it off, “Since I have not found the cure for AIDS or cancer, or found a way in which people will stop warring with each other, I don’t think I can claim any extraordinary achievements. I have done very good work for my clients and they have appreciated it, but this will not qualify as achievements in my book.” Surely, such humility is a rare trait in today’s world, what with arrogance and ego being common traits for corporate leaders.
On being quizzed about her role model one gets a straight repartee, “I don’t have any role model.” Not surprisingly, Sangeetha believes her strength lies in her being self-motivated & her ability to enjoy her work.
Her energy surely is infectious and gets people around her to be as cheerful and motivated. This woman, who believes that “English education has taken us away from our roots,” is one individual who didn’t have to struggle to make our list. It is a privilege to have her!
Do we call her Ash?
Ashu SUYASH... leads one of America’s leading fi nancial fi rms, and has achieved...incredibly!
Ashu Suyash, the Country Head of Fidelity International, is a qualified Chartered Accountant having more than16 years of experience in the financial services industry. Ever since the late 2003 when she joined Fidelity as MD, she has been heading the world’s largest independent asset management company, which has more than 20 million clients globally and has invested more than over $4 billion in Indian equities. The soft spoken lady told 4Ps B&M, “Heading the Indian operations of the global giant is enthralling, I will not say I have beaten the male bastion.” Her stint with Citigroup only sharpened her financial acumen. Under her leadership, Fidelity bagged the Management Achievement Award – Fund Manager of the Year (Asia Investor 2006). Ashu emphasises unparalleled importance on investor education, quality service, and the time tested money management style. Based on the trio the Fidelity International Opportunities Fund was launched in April 2007.
She is an optimist at heart. A nonbeliever in short term tactics, Ashu considers India to be a strategic market and has a long term market approach aligned to meet customer needs. It’s incredible how innumerable Indians are now putting money where Ashu tells them to. That’s achievement!
latha KUMAR... If you were ready to die for Super Selector on ESPN, you better start thanking her
Latha Kumar is a woman who is no alien to setting records. In her first job at Excite, she was the only girl engineer. In her second job at Sybase, she became the only engineer on her firm’s management committee. With an MS in Computer Sciences, this Stanford University graduate last headed the technology & multimedia ventures at ESPN-Star Sports, but as the magazine was going to bed, we were informed by her Singapore office that she had quit the organisation. For the same reason, we could not meet her for an interaction. But sources in ESPN-Star Sport’s (Gurgaon) IT department duly credit her. “There is no women in the IT department in the top bracket. Latha managed to break the legacy.”
At ESPN-Star Sports, Latha had the luxury of flexi-timings, no real hierarchy and just sat around office, listening to problems. Whoa! That’s putting it mildly. A firm believer in the fact that keeping herself updated makes her a good problem solver, Latha will be a sad loss for the sports broadcaster. On the serious side, despite working for the fast paced ESPN-Star Sports venture, Latha kept on the cutting edge of programming. Notably, Latha was the one who fine-tuned the ‘Super Selector’ game engine at ESPN, which found great acceptance with the fans. Known to be good at stress management, Latha treats her mistakes as experiences and in future, wishes to run a media company. Now that she has left ESPN, guess she’s doing exactly that!
ICICI ‘Vishakha’ Bank
Vishakha MULYE... She’s one of the top reasons for the bank’s massive fi nancial success in India
Having successfully completed her Chartered Accountancy, Vishakha Mulye joined the ICICI Group way back in 1993. Since then, there has been no looking back for Vishakha. A performance driven person, she played a pivotal role in setting up the special assets management group to provide sharper focus on larger non-performing assets and difficult cases. Prior to being promoted as the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of ICICI Bank, she has worked extensively in the areas of project finance, structured finance, treasury, corporate planning, strategy, investor relation distressed assets resolution.
She played an instrumental part by conceptualizing and finally implementing the mammoth task of the merger of ICICI with ICICI Bank. And she takes a sizable credit for ICICI Bank becoming the largest private bank and the second largest bank in India.
The dawn of this decade saw her engaged with an entirely new project, she was busy setting up ICICI Bank’s structured finance business. Her pioneering efforts over 2001 to 2005 are credited to have led to the development of an active security market in India. Her talent and contributions in various domains were reasons enough for her to be promoted to the position of CFO & Treasurer of the banking giant.
In spite of a busy schedule she gives ample time to her family. An empowered woman by all standards, Vishakha joins the 40 under 40 club with a verve that’ll make India proud...very!