The list includes 30 women. These are women who are at the helm of power signing billion dollar deals, creating new businesses, acquiring companies and building brands.
ALICE G. VAIDYAN CMD, General Insurance Corporation of India
who know Vaidyan vouch for her negotiating skills and fearless nature.
Under her command, GIC is now taking a big leap to exploit the new
opportunities in crop insurance. At present, her focus is taking the
company, with net worth of close to Rs50,000 crore and total assets of
Rs94,949 crore, public. The primary market will soon see the first-ever
public offering by a reinsurer.
ANITA DONGRE Chief Creative Officer, House of Anita Dongre
Anita Dongre has taken high fashion to far-flung corners of the
country. Her brands, AND and Global Desi, are present in more than 50
cities. Her company, House Of Anita Dongre, set up as many as 100 stores
in 2016 to take the total to 283. Her most recent offering, Anita
Dongre Grassroot, is a handcrafted western wear brand for which she has
worked with craftspeople and weavers across the country.
ANJULY CHIB DUGGAL Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance
her two-year stint as Secretary, Department of Financial Services,
Ministry of Finance, Anjuly Chib Duggal has overseen several big
initiatives. But her last few months in office - she retired in August
2017 - were, perhaps, the most action-packed. She was leading the
government's efforts to resolve the NPA deadlock. One of the many big
steps taken towards that was the implementation of the NPA ordinance
passed in May this year.
ARUNA JAYANTHI Head of Business Services, Capgemini
2016, Jayanthi took over as the Head of Business Services, a "new
strategic business unit" created to provide BPO and Platform (integrated
technology and operations) services at Capgemini. It's a global
ARUNDHATI BHATTACHARYA Chairperson, State Bank of India
first woman to head the largest bank in the country, State Bank of
India, or SBI, has seamlessly implemented a number of path-breaking
changes, which have become a template for public sector banks, which
control more than two-third of the country's banking industry in terms
of deposits and advances. Arundhati has laid a good foundation for the
bank so that it can reap the benefit of scale.
Kapoor, Joint Managing Director, Balaji Telefilms, wanted to not just
create content but also own a TV channel. Kapoor has finally achieved
the dream of owning her own platform and IP with the launch of her
over-the-top, or OTT, platform, Alt Balaji, in April this year.
FALGUNI NAYAR Founder and CEO / Nykaa
At a time when
e-commerce is all about failed start-up stories, former Kotak Capital MD
Falguni Nayar's online beauty market place, Nykaa, is an exception. Her
Rs 280 crore enterprise is set to break even by December. Nykaa already
has seven stores. By March next year, it will have 15. It plans to take
the number to 40 by 2019.
GEETU VERMA Vice President, Foods (South Asia), Hindustan Unilever
Verma joined HUL in November 2011 and is responsible for its foods
portfolio comprising Kissan and Knorr packaged foods. Verma also mentors
young women managers and raises funds for underprivileged children
suffering from life-threatening illnesses.
HARSHBEENA ZAVERI Vice Chairman and Managing Director, NRB Bearings
at 57, Harshbeena Zaveri is a boundary-pushing, out-of-the-box
innovator who has never failed to surprise people. Zaveri says product
innovation has been NRB's biggest strength. The company claims about 90
per cent of the Indian vehicles run on its bearings and auto parts while
its subsidiaries in Thailand and Germany are key suppliers to the
KAKU NAKHATE President and India Country Head, Bank of America
month ago, Kaku Nakhate went to the US for a 14-city trip to discuss
with clients the key changes that happened in India, including
demonetisation, digitisation and the introduction of Goods and Services
Tax (GST). That kind of global platform and client stickiness are the
key reasons why BofA has a consistent track record of profitable Indian
MEENA GANESH Co-founder & CEO, Portea Medical
the CEO of Portea Medical, her latest start-up, she has scaled up an
idea few thought could work - medical services at home, everything from
physiotherapy and nursing to elder and new born care. Portea Medical has
grown revenues nearly 150 per cent in the last one year.
May, Adi Godrej announced the succession in the flagship company of the
$4.1 billion Godrej group, Godrej Consumer Products (GCPL), naming his
second daughter, Nisaba, as the executive chairman. The 39-year-old
broke the glass ceiling in the 120-year-old diversified conglomerate
after working as the key architect of GCPL's strategy and transformation
in the last decade.
PADMAJA RUPAREL Co-founder, IAN
co-founded the Indian Angel Network (IAN) in 2006. IAN is today the
world's largest business angel network with 450 investors. It has
invested in 135 companies and cites an internal rate of return of 32 per
cent. There have been more than 20 exits.
PALLAVI S. SHROFF Managing Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co
Shroff is the managing partner of law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas
(SAM). She has built her reputation since setting up the practice in the
1980s in Delhi and has also led a crack team that is considered among
the best in Competition practice. Last year was the defining moment for
the firm, which split in 2015. It landed a big win before the AP Shah
Committee for ONGC in the case against Reliance Industries.
RADHIKA PIRAMAL Managing Director, VIP Industries
Industries income, under Managing Director Radhika Piramal, rose from Rs
1,209 crore in 2015/16 to Rs 1,283 crore. Net profit jumped from Rs 66
crore to Rs 88 crore. It came as a surprise as most of the consumer
goods companies consumption came to a halt after demonetisation.
RAJSHREE PATHY Chairperson, Rajshree Sugars and Chemicals
doubt Rajshree Pathy has broken many a glass ceiling, taking over as
the first female managing director of a sugar mill in 1990, after the
untimely death of her father G. Vardaraj, who had set up Rajshree Sugars
and Chemicals, as well as becoming the first woman president of the
Indian Sugar Mills Association in 2004/05. It has also ventured into a
number of new areas in recent years, including food, energy and
REKHA MENON Chairman and Senior Managing Director, Accenture in India
is today Accenture's largest geography - by September 2016, the company
employed 140,000 people in the country overall. In the quarter ended
May 2017, the company's net revenues from "the New" - which includes
digital, cloud, and cyber security-related services among others - were
approximately $4.7 billion, or 50 per cent of the total.
SAMINA VAZIRALLI Executive Vice Chairman, Cipla
Vaziralli, who quit her job to be a homemaker, finds herself running
the Rs 14,630 crore Cipla. Unlike other fast-growing drug companies in
India, Cipla was predominantly a supplier to other pharmaceutical
companies with licensing arrangements and strong hold in the domestic
market. Vaziralli and her team decided to internationalise with direct
marketing front ends in various geographies to increase margins and
de-risk the business.
SCHAUNA CHAUHAN SALUJA CEO, Parle Agro
It has been a
fruitful year for Schauna Chauhan Saluja, CEO of Parle Agro. The
company's flagship brand, the mango drink Frooti, was launched in a
fizzy version in March - its first brand extension since it began 32
years ago. Last year, Frooti also grabbed second spot in the mango
drinks market, outstripping PepsiCo's Slice (Coca-Cola's Mazaa is No.
SHANTI EKAMBARAM President (Consumer Banking), Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd
Ekambaram, 54, is in the thick of things. The merger of Kotak Mahindra
Bank with ING Vysya Bank this year has doubled its network to 1,362
branches. "Digital banking teaches bankers to think differently," she
says. The bank, under her, is betting heavily on uptick in urban
consumption. Ekambaram also wants to offer many products online to
SONALI KULKARNI President and CEO, FANUC India
wouldn't be entirely wrong to call Sonali Kulkarni the first lady of
Indian manufacturing. She has been with the factory automation company,
FANUC, for 19 years, selling CNC (Computerised Numeric Control) to
machine tool manufacturers as well as small and giant robots to the
automotive industry, among many others. So much so that every second car
in India is welded by FANUC robots.
SUNEETA REDDY Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise
C. Reddy, the Chairman of Apollo Hospitals, refers to Suneeta, the
second of his four daughters who keeps a tight grip on group finances,
as Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, for the group. Her role, she says,
"is to ensure continuous improvement in RoC and growth for the future. I
think we are a great growth story for the next two decades and more
considering our integrated health care delivery and the capacities we
SHWETA JALAN Managing Director and Head of India, Advent International
Jalan, Managing Director of Advent International, a private equity (PE)
firm, has been on her toes for the last 26 months. During this period,
she was involved in making four investments - Ask Group, Dixcey, Quest
and Crompton Greaves - and, more importantly, a successful exit. With a
minimum investment of $100 million in a deal, Jalan is said to be a
tough task master who gets things done and a tough negotiator who
bargains hard for every penny paid.
USHA SANGWAN Managing Director, Life Insurance Corporation
almost six months, Usha Sangwan presided practically alone over an
empire almost twice the size of Reliance Industries. The behemoth Life
Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India had revenues of Rs 4.92 lakh crore
in 2016/17. With assets of over Rs 25 lakh crore and 280 million
customers, LIC is usually run by four managing directors. But two
vacancies were not filled for a long time, while the third MD, V.K.
Sharma, was promoted as chairman, leaving Sangwan as the sole
VANI KOLA CO-FOUNDER & MD, Kalaari Capital
over $200 million in six months, Vani Kola had set up her venture
capital firm IndoUS Advisors, in partnership with New Enterprise
Associates, which later morphed into Kalaari Capital, the name inspired
by Kerala's ancient martial art form Kalaripayattu, since she felt she
too had entered a combat arena. Kalaari Capital, now one of the
country's biggest VC firms, is invested in around 60 start-ups,
including Myntra, Urban Ladder, Zivame and Bluestone.
VANITHA NARAYANAN Chairperson, IBM India
Narayanan, the Chairman of IBM India Private Ltd, segregated her career
into three decades. She joined the company in 1987. Her first decade was
about building domain expertise in the telecom industry in the US; the
second was about building organisational capability; the third (and
beyond) has been about leadership - in different cultures, environments.
VIBHA PADALKAR, Executive Director & CFO, HDFC Life
a chartered accountant from London, is a known expert in listing
companies on exchanges. HDFC Life hired her in 2008 after she had listed
WNS on the New York Stock Exchange. Padalkar, the only woman on the top
management of HDFC Life, says the companys culture ensures that she is
free to express herself and take crucial decisions.
VINITA SINGHANIA Chairperson and MD, JK Lakshmi Cement
65, Managing Director of JKLC since August 2006, the first woman CEO of
a major cement company, has increased its turnover from a mere Rs 100
crore in 1989 - when she took charge of it following the untimely death
of her husband, Sripati Singhania - to nearly Rs 3,000 crore, and its
capacity from 0.5 million tonne per annum (MTPA) to 12.6 MTPA.
VISHAKHA MULYE Executive Director, ICICI Bank
corporate banker, the most difficult task is faster resolution of
stressed assets. Vishakha Mulye, 48, has been successful in some of the
biggest resolutions in India's corporate history. UltraTech's
acquisition of Jaiprakash Group's cement assets and Russian oil major
Rosneft's purchase of Essar Oil have sharply reduced stress on the
country's largest private sector bank. The credit for this goes to
Mulye, who became the head of wholesale banking 18 months ago.