Ekta Kapoor, Creative Director Balaji Telefilms SHE’S the lady who year on year has been ruling thesoaps and her bubble just gets bigger. This 1975-bornentertainer-entrepreneur started out earning abachelor’s degree in commerce. But academicswasn’t her cup of tea. So at age 19, she ventured intoTV production on the advice of her film-starJeetendra. Today, Ekta Kapoor is the creative directorand head honcho of the mammoth Balaji Telefilms,where actors queue up to be considered.
Ekta Kapoor, Creative Director Balaji TelefilmsHer most famous television venture has been KyunkiSaas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, which started airing in 2000.Today, several of her serials feature among the mostpopular 25 programmes on the tube. And of courseher fetish for the alphabet ‘K’ is well-known. Itcouldn’t be a coincidence that almost all her serialshave names beginnign with the alphabet, whether itis Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki, Kasautii Zindagi Kay orKahiin to Hoga. Kapoor’s super-successful saas-bahuformula for her productions has
Ekta Kapoor, Creative Director Balaji Telefilmshas been working its magic unfailingly on audiencesthat predominantly comprises women. Seeing thepopularity of her storylines, senior and moreexperienced producers are also adapting their serialsto give the Modern Woman portrayal a miss, settlinginstead for her “gharelu” avatar. Kapoor’s journeyseems to have just begun and she almost certainlyhas many more hits coming up.
Farah Khan, Choreographer and DirectorSHE made a name as a choreographer in Bollywoodthink Aamir Khan in Joh Jeeta Wohi Sikander orMalaika Arora’s sensuous swaying in Dil Se’s Chaiya,Chaiya. And in 2004, sheturned director anddelivered the biggest hit of the year. Khan ruled thebox-office with the Shahrukh Khan-starrer MainHoon Na. Three years later, she has again ensuredthat her Om Shanti Om, a lookback at the 70s, madea huge splash at the box-office. She admits that her
Farah Khan, Choreographer and Directorguardian angel is Shahrukh Khan, who formed aproduction company to produce Main Hoon Na.Evencritics agree that her biggest contribution toBollywood is the fact that she is willing to take on thechallenge to make a big-budget film. Khan, 42, won’tmake a niche film just because of her gender. Herglobal fame came after she choreographed and wasnominated for a Tony forthe Broadway musicalBombay Dreams
Shahnaz Hussain, Chairperson of Shahnaz HerbalsHER name is synonymous with natural cosmetics andshe was one of the pioneers of herbal magic. But thebeginnings this Padma Shri recipient made weresmall. Seeing that existing salon treatments had sideeffects, Shahnaz Husain decided to start her own,using herbal products. She launched a totally newconcept of “care and cure”. Thus was born ShahnazHerbal. She is best known for her specialised clinicaltreatments and therapeutic products for skin andhair problems. Today, Husain
Shahnaz Hussain, Chairperson of Shahnaz Herbals heads a chain of over 400 franchise salons in Indiaand abroad, with outlets in prestigious stores andlocations all over the world. Her franchise-basedenterprise has helped in the worldwide extension ofthe Shahnaz Herbal clinics, popularising herformidable range of nearly 350 products. Her group’sproducts are sold in leading global stores likeBloomingdales (New York), Galleries Lafayette (Paris),Seibu (Japan), Harrods and Selfridges (London), andLa Rinaeccente (Milan).
Vinita Bali, MD of Britannia IndustryWhen ITC and local brand Priya Biscuits proved to bea threat in the middle of 2006, Britannia Industriesmade Vinita Bali, 51, its MD. An FMCG expert, Bali,who skeptics thought wouldn’t be able to deliver,proved them wrong. In a year-and-a-half she hadturned round the company. And though margins areunder pressure, because of rising input costs, andthe controlling groups — the Wadias and Danone —are sparring, the topline’s doing fine, not leastbecause of Bali and her pulling-everyone-along styleof functioning. If she has succeeded at Britannia, it’sbecause she loves a challenge and more.
Vinita Bali, MD of Britannia IndustryBali has done stints with great brands like Coca Colaand Cadbury’s and has never shied away fromexploring new terrain — from Santiago to SouthAfrica, Atlanta to Bangalore. The story goes, perhapsnot apocryphal, that she picked up Spanish inSantiago out of sheer necessity and then used it toher advantage while talking to local Coke bottlers.She is low-key (the difference made sharper becauseher predecessor at Britannia was the highly visible
Vinita Bali, MD of Britannia Industry sunil Alagh) but has many interests other than herday-time job. Like playing the sitar, going to thetheatre, dancing Kathak. She also loves reading, bothfiction and non-fiction, and western and Indianclassical music and is particularly partial to ghazals.Such eclectic tastes are probably helping Bali infusenew ideas into an old company that was till veryrecently in dire need of refurbishing.
Schauna Chauhan CEO, Parle AgroSCHAUNA Chauhan, the eldest of Prakash Chauhan’s three daughters, and chief executive of Parle Agro,says, “I’m like the eldest son in the family.” Prakash Chauhan, chairman and managing director of the Rs8 billion Parle Agro group, handed over the responsibilities of the group to his 26-year-old daughter Schauna in 2002. Even as a high school student she would accompany her father to production facilities to keep herself up-to-date with the kind of technology in the industry. The young Chauhan, who holds a Bachelors
Schauna Chauhan CEO, Parle AgroDegree in International Management fromSwitzerland, has worked in different departments-including production, finance, advertising and sales-within the organisation. As director Parle Agro, shehas taken products like Frooti, Appy and N-Joi to theinternational market. She is also the brain behind thelaunch of Frooti in pet bottles, the first tetrapakbeverage to hit the market in this avatar. Married tomodel-turned-actor Bikram Saluja, she is never outof step or behind time.
Neelam Dhawan MD, Microsoft IndiaSHE had been a much-respected figure in the IT world for years, but when Neelam Dhawan was made managing director, Microsoft India, in 2005, it still came as a surprise. A pleasant one. It’s hard to find too many women who have zoomed up to the top in IT. “Our priority is to become relevant to one billion Indians,” is what Dhawan is known to have said when she took over the reins. And she is pulling out all stops to ensure that. She is now all set to foray into Project Bhasha, a programme that focuses on hastening computing in local languages.
Neelam Dhawan MD, Microsoft IndiaPrior to Microsoft, this hardware pro was vicepresident, Customer Solutions Group, HP India withadditional responsibility for strategic alliances andpartner relationships. This stint was for about sixyears, starting 1999. Shes done stints with IBM andHCL before that. Dhawan’s recipe for success: Youneed to have ambition, staying power and organisingability. And she also credits her supportive family forher rise to the top.
Shyamala Gopinath Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India STRESS. If there is anyone who knows what that is, it’s Shyamala Gopinath. Her job as deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India requires management of risk on a daily basis. An ordinary CEO perhaps does not know this kind of stress. True strain comes with the pressures of running India’s monetary policy in the face of the falling greenback. Unlike the West and Japan, the central banker is a far more powerful entity in a relatively closed banking market such as India’s.
Shyamala Gopinath Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of IndiaAs the deputy governor of this mighty centralbank, she is in charge of not only the entire portfolioof the monetary policy, but also its internal debtdepartment as well as the external investmentsoperations. Now if there ever was a handful ofmanagement responsibilities, surely this is it. Hermanagement style is known to be solution oriented.To break down the big picture into workable andapplicable regulatory frameworks comes naturally tothis career banker.
Shyamala Gopinath Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India In 2008, Gopinath will have to grapple with the problem of plenty in the banking scenario. The stakes have never been higher and she knows that.
Naina Lal Kidwai CEO, HSBC IndiaIN 1977, when Naina Lal Kidwai, after completing acourse in chartered accountancy, joinedPricewaterhouse Coopers as a trainee, it is believedthat one of the partners told her he didn’t quiteknow what to do with her because there were noother women employees. Kidwai has gone on tobecome one of India’s best known bankers —gathering many firsts along the way, not least beingthe first Indian woman to graduate from HarvardBusiness School (HBS) in 1982.
Naina Lal Kidwai CEO, HSBC IndiaNow, as CEO of HSBC India — she joined the bank in2002 as head of its investment banking and baggedthe top job in four years — Kidwai, 50, is driving thebank’s endeavour to tap the huge potential that Indiaoffers private banks. She made a name as aninvestment banker while at ANZ Grindlays Bank,which she joined soon after her graduation. In sevenyears she was promoted to head the entireinvestment banking division.
Naina Lal Kidwai CEO, HSBC IndiaIn 1994, after spending a decade at Grindlays, shejoined Morgan Stanley when they opened offices inIndia. She soon engineered a joint venture with JMFinancials. It is no surprise that Kidwai is a highachiever — her father was CEO of an insurancecompany, her sister a top golfer and her husband isMD of a non-profit organisation.
Chanda Kochhar Joint MD, ICICI BankFOR the past three years, she has been on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Global Business. With her elevation to joint MD of ICICI Bank, India’s largest private bank this October, she is in line for the top job when MD and CEO KV Kamath retires in 2009. When she began at ICICI in 1984, Kochhar worked in the project appraisal division and moved throughvarious divisions before being given charge of the bank’s retail section in 2002. In 2004, The Asian Banker named Kochhar as Retail Banker of the Year. With her at the helm of the retail business, ICICI Bank became the largest player in India in the retail
Chanda Kochhar Joint MD, ICICI Bank market, garnering more than 30% share of all retailloans. In 2006, she also took charge of corporatebanking and international operations. Now, as shehas taken over as joint MD and CFO and become thebank’s spokesperson, the spotlight is on the 45-year-old Kochhar. The cost accountant and managementgraduate from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute has spent twodecades at the bank and according to analysts haswon acolades by adopting some winning strategies— like she has cut prices on consumer loans byreining in operating costs.
Zarina Mehta Founder Director, UTVUTV founder-director Zarina Mehta is passionateabout Mumbai and is pained that the city is losing itscultural spaces. So, in 2007, when she launchedUTV’s Brand Bindass, India’s first 360 degreeentertainment brand for Young India, she planned toopen cafes for youngsters sometime soon. As of now,Mehta, 46, CEO, Bindass, is busy positioning thebrand as an assortment of TV channels, events,mobile entertainment, websites, gaming andmerchandising. The former theatre actor has manyother firsts to her credit — the first daily soap Shanti;the first game show Snakes and Ladders and the first
Zarina Mehta Founder Director, UTV game showfor children Gol Gol Gullam. As COO of UTV’s Hungama TV, her innovations,including a nationwide hunt to set up a board ofdirectors comprising children, drove the channel tobecome the top kids channel within 18 months oflaunch. It was finally sold to Disney in 2006. She hasspent over 15 years nurturing UTV. Starting andcreating some of the production house’s majordivisions, producing over 3,500 hours of high-TRPaward-winning multi-lingual programming, she hasbeen awarded for her corporate documentaries.
Zarina Mehta Founder Director, UTVMehta also loves to chill out on Sundays athome with her husband and Sprite, agorgeous golden Labrador.
Deena Mehta President, Bombay Stock ExchangeSHE can lay claim to have broken the glass ceiling at the Bombay Stock Exchange. Hitherto the domain of men, Deena Mehta was the first woman to go into the trading ring in 1986. Sheholds the distinction of being the only woman broker in the country to have been elected to the BSE board in 1997 with the highest number of votes secured by any member in its history. Shes been a twice-elected vice president of the BSE. After 125 years, the BSE got its first woman president when Mehta, or Deenaben as she is fondly called, was elected.
Deena Mehta President, Bombay Stock ExchangeMehta is the mastermind behind many reforms at the BSE. She is credited with reforming the archaic bylaws of the exchange, was a key player instrumental in computerising the BSE, amongst others. The lady did not set out to enter the crowded male bastion of the BSE. Her dream was to become an engineer. When that did not materialise, she shifted tracks and took up a Commerce degree, graduating from Mumbais Sydhenham College. Mehta followed that up with a Masters degree in management studies, a CA later and then an MBA degree.
Vandana luthra Founder and Mentor, VLCC Health CareWith her nationwide chain taking beauty and fitness to Indians as few others, Vandana Luthra was among the earliest in contemporary India to realise the potential of the wellness sector while making people look and feel happy. After a degree from Delhi University, Luthra did courses in nutrition, cosmetology, beauty care, fitness and skin care in Germany, London and Paris. VLCC, ehich she set up almost two decades ago is today present in 46 cities in India.
Vandana luthra Founder and Mentor, VLCC Health CareAnd with a CAGR of 35% over the last fiveyears, the company, which has a fifth of thenational market share, is on an expansionspree. Luthra has chartered a beauty map forher Rs 1.20 billion business, which will see heropen centres in 200 more cities in the countryby 2009, besides more than quadrupling theturnover in the next four years. The expansionto over 250 centres will largely be through thefranchise mode.
Vandana luthra Founder and Mentor, VLCC Health CareThe company also plans to enter West Asia, Sri Lankaand the UK. Luthra has developed brand extensionsof VLCC that include the VLCC Personal Care range ofproducts, VLCC Studio and Spa, VLCC WorkoutFactory and VLCC Institute. VLCC is the world’s firstslimming, fitness and beauty corporate to get the ISO9001:2000 certification and first of its kind to get theSA: 800O (Social Accountability) certification forimplementing CSR standards. A factor in making hera name to reckon with in the business space.
Roopa Kudva MD and CEO, CRISILIN October 1992, Roopa Kudva joined CRISIL, then an up-and-coming rating agency as a senior rating analyst in Bangalore. She stayed on and became executive director and chief rating officer a decade later. This year, Kudva, 44, was elevated to the top job, taking over as MD and CEO of CRISIL, now a leading ratings, research, risk and policy advisory company. As CEO, Kudva, who has a degree in Statistics and an MBA from IIM-A, wants to maintain CRISIL’s ratings business’ current position of dominance in India and is expected to play a
Roopa Kudva MD and CEO, CRISIL bigger role in the company’s rapid expansion anddiversification, both in domestic and internationalmarkets. In this, her stint at Standard & Poor’soffice in Paris in 1998, where she covered emergingmarkets in the Mediterranean and West Asian regionshould stand her in good stead. Kudva began hercareer with Industrial Development Bank of India atits project finance department before she opted tojoin a rating agency with a Bangalore posting.
Punitha Arumugam Group CEO, Madison MediaShe is the winner of the GR8 Woman Achiever Award for the year 2006. In the same year she was voted among the Top 10 most influential people in the Indian media industry by the Brand Equity Ad Agency Reckoner. Meet Punitha Arumugam, chief executive officer of the Rs 900-crore Madison Media, arguably one of the three most powerful media agencies in the country today. In her 17 years in the industry, Arumugam has looked at every aspect of the media business — strategy, planning, buying, research and operations.
Punitha Arumugam Group CEO, Madison Media Her experience spans a wide range ofproducts, including FMCG, durables and financialservices. She has worked with top agencies such asOgilvy & Mather and Initiative in the keymarkets of Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore, beforedropping anchor at Madison Media. Arumugamjoined the agency as media services director in 1999.Interestingly, her first break in advertising came whileshe was a student. Here a little background may behandy
Punitha Arumugam Group CEO, Madison MediaBorn and educated in Chennai, Arumugam’s fatherwas in business and her mother was a housewife.She completed her graduation in Physics and wenton to study management at the Madras University.Media was her first break and she took to it like a fishto water. In fact, while doing her MBA, she wasassigned a summer project with Chennai-based adagency RK Swamy and it was there that her tryst withadvertising began. She joined O&M oncompleting her education and stayed there for
Punitha Arumugam Group CEO, Madison Mediaa full five years, soaking up all she could in her mediaplanning job, even though her heart lay in servicing.After 17 years in this highly competitive field,Arumugam still loves everything about it — thenumbers, the logic, the simplicity in thinking, thenegotiation and the people.
Vedika Bhandarkar Managing Director and Head of Investment Banking, JP Morgan IndiaBecoming managing director and head of investment banking at JP Morgan India took very little time for Vedika Bhandarkar. It’s her reputation of being a star performer in the circles that actually got her there. Bhandarkar has been in financial services for 14 years, and in the last six, she has earned plenty of laurels. This includes her stellar performance in the $1.1-billion Tata Consultancy Services public offering. This IIM graduate has been crucial to executing and closing significant deals.
Vedika Bhandarkar Managing Director and Head of Investment Banking, JP Morgan India Examples include ONGC’s acquisition of MRPL from the AV Birla group. Right from the start, when ONGC chairman Subir Raha called up Bhandarkar and evinced his interest, the odds were tipped against the deal. MRPL’s balance sheet was far from healthy, being loaded with $1.5 billion of high-interest debt. Bhandarkar and her team pulled off what is considered a miracle by convincing the 15 lenders to the project to take an average 25% cut in shares.
Vedika Bhandarkar Managing Director and Head of Investment Banking, JP Morgan India She has been heading the investment banking division of JP Morgan India since 1998 and in March 2004, she was also appointed managing director of the firm. Here is a tip off from the finance wiz: there will be more outward than inward deals as Indian companies look to grow at a global scale. Within India, she sees telecom and IT and IT-enabled services sectors as ones that are likely to see M&A and consolidation.
Runa BanErji Sehba Hussain Founders, Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)IT was the early 1970s. Chikankaari was dying a slow death in Lucknow. Wages were as low as Rs 10-15 for a hard day’s work for the craftsmen. Most were looking out for greener pastures. Enter Runa Banerji and her friend Sehba Hussain on a UNICEF- sponsored project on child labour. The abject penury and exploitation of the workers, specially the women, shook them. They began a school but soon realised “roti” was the first priority.
Runa BanErji Sehba HussainFounders, Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) So, getting the mothers who came to the schooltogether, Banerji and Hussain formed SEWA (Self-Employed Women’s Association) in 1984. Yes, it isthe same name by which Ela Bhatt runs her NGO inAhmedabad, but the areas of operation are entirelydifferent. The aim of SEWA of Lucknow has been toget these craftswomen better wages andtoday, thanks to
Runa BanErji Sehba HussainFounders, Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) this effort, chikankaari has becoming haute couture.There were threats from local middlemen, moneywas in short supply, most of the time they had towork under cover of darkness, but Runa Banerji andSehba Hussain just kept going. Their very firstexhibition in Delhi was sold out. Many more such hitshave followed over the years and others have tried tofake the SEWA brand name too. Financial gain hasresulted in these women artisans getting themselvesbetter houses and educating their children.
Runa BanErji Sehba HussainFounders, Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)SEWA today boasts of over 5,000 members, witheach one having a happy story of progress to tell.And they have this tenacious duo to thank forfortune smiling at them.
Shobhana Bhartia Vice Chairperson and Editorial Director, HT MediaTHIS Calcutta University graduate has definitelydriven her father, industrialist KK Birla’s mediaambitions to heights. Shobhana Bhartia, 50, now notonly runs the Hindustan Times, the capital’s favouredEnglish daily, despite the tug-of-war with arch rivaland Bennett and Coleman-run The Times of Indianotwithstanding, but also Hindi daily Hindustan. Shealso launched a business paper with a differencecalled Mint
Shobhana Bhartia Vice Chairperson and Editorial Director, HT Media If HT looks slick and stylish today, it’s largely thanksto Bhartia who was convinced the stodgy dailyurgently needed a makeover. This year has been ayear of many firsts for Bhartia. She saw her mediaempire expand to other genres like radio with FMchannel Fever104 impressing in its debut in Mumbaiand Delhi. She managed to bring together rivals —HT and TOI — to launch the capital’s first morningtabloid Metro Now.
Shobhana Bhartia Vice Chairperson and Editorial Director, HT MediaA Rajya Sabha member and till recently chairpersonof the Audit Bureau of Circulation, Bhartia wasconferred the Padma Shri in 2005 for hercontribution to journalism. HT Media’s stock too hasbeen doing well, having gone public in September2005. Bhartia is now apparently going to concentrateon Hindustan, with HT Media planning to invest Rs200 crore over two years to set up 14 more editionsof the Hindi daily across India’s tier-II and tier-IIIcities.
Ela R Bhatt Founder, SEWAHER father was a lawyer and her mother was active in the women’s movement. So becoming a social activist seemed to be pretty much in Ela Bhatt’s genes. She came through law college with a gold medal and went on to teach English, which she didn’t quite like. So, in 1955 Bhatt joined the Textile Labour Association (TLA) in Ahmedabad. With marriage and motherhood, there came a break in her career. But she soon picked up the threads and joined the Labour Ministry of Gujarat as an Employment Officer in 1961. In 1968, she went back to TLA as
Ela R Bhatt Founder, SEWA Proving that there is strength in numbers, Bhatt hasshown that the weak too can climb every mountain.head of its Women’s Wing. It was a revelation to herthat thousands of self-employed women were notrecognised as workers, and that there were no lawsto protect their livelihood. That’s when, in1972, Elaben, as she is affectionately referredto, founded the Self-Employed Women’s Association(SEWA). Today, SEWA operates in over seven statesand provides these self-employed womenbanking, insurance, healthcare and micro-financeservices.
Ela R Bhatt Founder, SEWAAnd, it has an impressive 800,000 + women asmembers. Proving that there is strength in numbers,Bhatt has shown that the weak too can climb everymountain.
Rama Bijapurkar Leader on marketstrategy and consumer related issuesPROVIDING a “market focus to business strategy” iswhat keeps Rama Bijapurkar engaged. She workedwith several reputed organisations before shedecided to go it alone. And now she is doing whatshe likes best — problem solving. An alumnus of theIIM, Ahmedabad, Bijapurkar first opted for clientservicing with Lintas. Disillusioned by the workcontent, she moved on to the market researchagency of the company. She then moved on to Modeand six years later to HLL as a full-time consultant.
Rama Bijapurkar Leader on marketstrategy and consumer related issuesThereafter she join MARG and stepped out as itsdeputy managing director only to move on toMcKinsey. But two years on, she realised she wasn’tdoing quite what she had set out to do. So since1999, she’s set up her own shop and is happy beingthe bridge between business and consumer.Bijapurkar now serves as an independent director onthe boards of Infosys Technologies, CRISIL, AxisBank, Godrej Consumer Products, GiveFoundation, Subhiksha, Mahindra HolidaysResorts, among others. Her recently published book,
Rama Bijapurkar Leader on marketstrategy and consumer related issuesWe are like that only — Understanding the Logic ofConsumer India, created quite a buzz. Todayregarded as one of India’s foremost thougth leaders.
Madhabi Puri Buch Executive Director, ICICI BankM Puri Buch, executive director on the Board of ICICI Bank, has a job description that covers several areas. She looks after the global markets business covering treasury solutions for clients, fixed income and derivatives solutions, global operations of the bank, besides working as the chief brand officer for the ICICI Group.
Madhabi Puri Buch Executive Director, ICICI Bank A graduate in mathematics from St Stephen’sCollege, Delhi, and an MBA from the IIM,Ahmedabad, she worked for a year with an NGObefore joined ICICI in its corporate financedepartment for four years. After a career break ofthree years to join her husband in the UK (where sheis reported to have worked as a sales girl), shereturned to India to do a one-year stint with ORGMarg in market research for financial products.
Madhabi Puri Buch Executive Director, ICICI Bank In 1997, she returned to ICICI Bank, and worked tomake ICICI the top bond issuer in the country. herefforts contributed to making it a leader in mutualfund distribution. The bank leveraged technology tocreate the pioneering online share-trading site with amarket share of over 60%. The home loans businesstoo grew four-fold. She now wants to bring thebenefits of technology to the thousands of small-ticket customers doing daily transactions.
Lynn D’Souza Director, Media Services, Lowe She has spent almost 25 years in the media industrytraining some of the best talent in the country. But more than this, Lynn D’Souza of Initiative Media isknown for calling a spade a spade. A managementgraduate from the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute, D’Souzabegan her career in 1982 with Speer before spendingfive years at OM, working on brands such as JJ, AsianPaints, Titan Watches and Unilever. In 1988, shejoined Trikaya Grey (now Grey Worldwide) as mediadirector, where she
Lynn D’Souza Director, Media Services, Lowe championed the cause of media buying as anindependent business. Today her venture is India’slargest print buyer and second largest TV buyer, withmaximum number of AOR clients. D’Souza is alsopassionate about animal welfare. She started andnow chairs the Goa SPCA, owns and manages aveterinary hospital for strays and wildlife at Goa, isan active life member and volunteer for severalanimal NGOs.
TANYA Dubash Executive Director and President (Marketing), Godrej Group NOT many people would know that the eldest daughter of Adi and Parmeshwar Godrej, who is the executive director and president (marketing) of the $ 1.3 billion Godrej Group, has been nominated among 25 Indians in this year’s list of 250 Global Young Leaders by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum. Inducted into the company as director at 28, Dubash began with the country’s most competitive markets — the FMCG sector. Two years ago, she made her intentions of expanding into the overseas
TANYA Dubash Executive Director and President (Marketing), Godrej Group market clear when she snapped up the Middlesex- based Keyline Brands in a $15.75 million deal to complement Godrej’s domestic business in hair colour, talcum powder and shaving cream. On top of her agenda at the moment is a strategy to re- formulate and revitalise some of her brands, for which she has already hired a global consultant, the UK-based Interbrand.
Manisha Girotra Managing Directorand Chairperson, India, Union Bank of Switzerland SHE clinches the most talked-about deals and has a mean golf handicap too. She also finds the time to be a mother, work out and occasionally wave the ladle. That’s investment banker Manisha Girotra for you. A Delhi School of Economics topper, Girotra is quite an eyeful too, having been judged ‘Rose Princess’ in Chandigarh few years ago. Currently managing director and chairperson, India, Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS), she is known to have said her biggest competitor in the business is her husband, Sanjay Agarwal of Deutche Bank.
Manisha Girotra Managing Directorand Chairperson, India, Union Bank of Switzerland Credit to her the management of the Vodafone acquisition of Hutch-Essar and the Hindalco buy-out of Novelis. Before UBS hired her, Girotra did stints at ANZ Grindlays and BZW Investment Banking where she spearheaded the team that secured the GAIL privatisation deal. Patience and tenacity are what you need to crack these deals, feels the pro. It’s been a steep climb up for this ace negotiator from the time she was mistaken for the secretary to the “Sahaab” when she visited ministries.
Renu S Karnad Executive Director, HDFC SHE began her career in the legal and creditdepartment of HDFC in 1978, supposedly by peddlingloans to housewives, personally going to borrowers’homes for interviews. Through the years, even asborrowers’ profiles changed, Renu S Karnad, whoholds a master’s degree in economics from DelhiSchool of Economics, swiftly grew through the ranksto become head of the lending business in HDFC. At55, she is number 3 at one of India’s most well-known home loan companies. She travels
Renu S Karnad Executive Director, HDFCextensively — home is Delhi, but she keeps travelingto Mumbai and other places. And despite the factthat the housing loan industry has slowed — due tovarious reasons, not least rising interest rates andsoaring property prices — she has often said that thefundamentals are still in place. She would know,being in the profession for more than 25 years, andnow overseeing an exciting phase in India’s mortgageindustry.
Geetanjali Kirloskar DeputyChairman, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Wife of Kirloskar Systems Ltd CMD, VikramKirloskar, Geetanjali has successfully managed tocarve out her own identity in the corporate world.She started her career in advertising with theKirloskar owned Ad Agency Pratibha Advertising. In1998 she led her Agency in a 50:50 JV with theInterpublic Worldwide Group. The turning pointcame when IPG appointed her as Presidentprofessionally to run the JV company QuadrantCommunications Ltd for them. In 2003 started a non-profit venture The India Japan Initiative for betterindustrial and cultural relations between India and
Geetanjali Kirloskar Deputy Chairman, Toyota Kirloskar MotorThe multi-faceted Kirloskar writes, is vice president,Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association and is is agreat collection of contemporary Indian Art The slimand tall Kirloskar, who works out regularly, loves theoutdoors. She has acted in character roles in twoHindi films — Cheluvi and Samay. And she has noplans to give up, she said in a recent interview.Kirloskar has also hosted a reality show for a newschannel where she did 38 episodes.
Leena Nair Executive Director, (HR), Hindustan UnileverA gold medallist from Xavier Labour RelationsInstitute (XLRI) Jamshedpur, Leena(Menon) Nair, thefirst woman and youngest ever executive director atHindustan Unilever, is in charge of the company’shuman resources. After completing her Bachelors inelectronic engineering and her MBA, Nair, 37, joinedthe FMCG major in May 1992 as a managementtrainee. Today she has risen to head a team that isresponsible for the well-being of about 15,000employees in 70 locations across the country.
Leena Nair Executive Director, (HR), Hindustan UnileverStarting her career as a factory personnel manager inTaloja Chemicals, Chennai, Nair moved on tomanagement development planning and then to HRfor the company’s detergents business in April2000.Nair feels HUL is woman-friendly. And, with herat the helm of HR affairs at the company, HUL shouldsee women playing a bigger role in handling itsbusinesses. “Our trainee programme is part of aconscious attempt to increase the number of womenleaders we could groom for the future,”
Leena Nair Executive Director, (HR), Hindustan Unilevershe told a daily Nair is the first woman in the historyof HUL to have been appointed a member of thecompany’s management council. A Bollywoodenthusiast who loves to travel and read, Nair ismarried to Kumar Nair, who runs a financial servicesfirm, and has two sons.
kalpana Morparia Chief Strategy andCommunications Officer, ICICI GroupFOR someone who just wanted to get married andhave children, holding the designation of ChiefStrategy Communications Officer, ICICI Group seemspretty much like the other end of the spectrum.Kalpana Morparia thanks her mother for it — hermother encouraged her to be self-reliant andfinancially indepedent. She joined ICICI in 1975,armed with a law degree from Bombay University. In2001, she
kalpana Morparia Chief Strategy andCommunications Officer, ICICI Groupspearheaded the ICICI group’s major corporatestructuring initiative, the merger of ICICI Limited withICICI Bank to create India’s second largest bank. Ascience graduate, Morparia has earned a track recordof working in the areas ofplanning, treasury, resources and corporate legalservices. Till May 2007, Morparia was Joint ManagingDirector, Corporate Centre at ICICI Bank.
Sulajja Firodia motwani Joint Managing Director, Kinetic EngineeringAS joint managing director of Kinetic Engineering Ltd,part of the Rs 1,200 crore Firodia Group, SulajjaFirodia Motwani is in charge of its overall businessdevelopment activities. Under her leadership, thegroup graduated from being a manufacturer ofmopeds and scooters to a full fledged two-wheelerand motorcycle company, (Zoom, Nova, and Marvel,Boss, Velocity, GF 170 City, Laser and Aquila, to namea few), targeted at a whole spectrum of customers.
Sulajja Firodia motwani Joint Managing Director, Kinetic EngineeringMotwani has a management degree from CarnegieMellon University, Pittsburg, and her first stint waswith Barra International, a California-headquarteredinvestment consultancy. Motwani claims she hasbeen applying what she learnt on the badmintoncourts to the Kinetic Group ever since she joined it in1996. Her grandfather HK Firodia set up KineticEngineering and father Arun Firodia founded theKinetic group. When not launching new bikes,Motwani likes to play golf, ski, read non-fiction andwatch movies.
Vishakha Mulye Chief Financial Officer, ICICI Bank SHE joined ICICI as a management trainee in 1993. In12 years, Vishakha Mulye, 38, has risen to becomethe group’s chief financial officer (CFO). Mulyegraduated in commerce from HR College, Mumbai.An aspiring chartered accountant, she joined ANZGrindlays Bank’s merchant banking division in 1991.A year later, Mulye joined Deutsche Bank’s corporatefinance team, which she quit after three months tojoin ICICI, her ‘dream employer’. Today, VishakhaMulye has the tricky task of ensuring that theprocess of raising capital in ICICI Bank continues.
Vishakha Mulye Chief Financial Officer, ICICI BankIn 2005, she helped the bank raise nearly $7 billion inequity and another $12 billion from internationalmarkets. Balancing her role within the family and herprofession, Mulye also played a crucial role inpreparing the blueprint for the merger of ICICI withICICI Bank. Sounding every bit a workaholic, sherecently listed “work-related stuff” as her hobby in abusiness magazine. She said the ‘turning point’ in hercareer came when
Vishakha Mulye Chief Financial Officer, ICICI BankKV Kamath left Asian Development Bank to join ICICIin 1996 as its managing director. Honoured with theIndia CFO Award, 2006, instituted by InternationalMarket Assessment (IMA) for excellence in finance ina large corporate, Mulye was also chosen as a ‘YoungGlobal Leader’ for the year 2007 by the WorldEconomic Forum.
Usha Narayanan Executive Director, Securities and Exchange Board of IndiaTHERE is one woman who is keeping a constant eyeon the primary market and Foreign institutionalinvestors. Usha Narayanan, 55, the first woman fromwithin the market watchdog, Securities and ExchangeBoard of India (Sebi), to become its executivedirector. After school, Narayanan began work as aclerk with the Bank of India. Later, she completed hergraduation from Delhi University and then her post-graduation from Mumbai University. After which, shewent on to complete her masters in business lawfrom the National Law School in Bangalore.
Usha Narayanan Executive Director, Securities and Exchange Board of IndiaNarayanan, who joined Sebi in 1991, once said, “Sebiis a happening place and there is a lot to learn. Thejob is demanding and there are challenges, but youhave to take it as it comes and not worry aboutthem.” A strong votary of the need for women tobalance work and home, Narayanan is known to havenever missed any parent-teacher meeting and stillcooks before she leaves home for office. However,she does have a regret in life. “I didnt learn to playany musical instrument,” says she.
Falguni Nayar Managing Director, Kotak Investment BankFALGUNI Nayar, the 44-year-old managing director ofKotak Investment Bank(KIB) likes her work to do thetalking. Nayar, who started her career with AFFerguson after graduating from IIM Ahmedabad,joined the Kotak Mahindra group in 1993. Since then,she has been responsible for steering the group’sinstitutional equities franchise business in the UKand the US, and now in India. Nayar joined KotakMahindra when the firm offered her to join theirM&A team.
Falguni Nayar Managing Director, Kotak Investment BankShe was on her path to building a client franchisewhen she decided to move to London along with herhusband. So, she was asked to build the KotakInstitutional Equities franchise in the UK. Later in1997, she moved to the US where she was working onsecondment to Goldman Sachs for eight months, afterwhich she joined Kotak again when they decided toset up in the US. In 2001, the family moved back toIndia and she joined Kotak’s Institutional Equitiesdepartment as Co-Head. In 2005, she took over asmanaging director of KIB.
Falguni Nayar Managing Director, Kotak Investment BankOne of Nayar’s primary responsibilities includedsteering the investment banking business andinstitutional brokerage business using local expertise.
Amrita Patel Chairperson, National Dairy Development BoardGROOMED by her mentor and ‘father of India’s co-operative movement’, Verghese Kurien, Amrita Pateltook charge of NDDB in 1998 when Kurien steppeddown after a 33-year reign. Patel specialised inveterinary science and agriculture from BombayVeterinary College in 1965. Later, she undertookadvanced training in animal nutrition at the RowettResearch Institute, UK. In 1965, she joined the KairaDistrict Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union in theircattle feed factory as animal nutrition officer. In 1971Patel joined NDDB as project executive.
Amrita Patel Chairperson, National Dairy Development BoardIn September 1990, she took over as managingdirector of NDDB, which controls Mother Dairy.Honoured with prestigious awards, like the PadmaBhushan and the Norman Borlaug award, Patel has achallenging task ahead. At a time when privatebusinesses and MNCs, like Nestle and Britannia, haveentered India’s milk sector, she has to ensure thatthe country’s 96,000 dairy co-peratives, 170 milkproducers’ co-operative unions and 15 state co-operative milk marketing federations emergestronger in the days to come.