Top young executives under 40 in India 2015 - Business Today
 
  • AMRITA PANDEY, Head-Theatrical, TV & Distribution, Disney India
  • CHIKI SARKAR, Publisher, Penguin India
  • GAURAV BANERJEE, GM, Star Plus
  • MANU KUMAR JAIN, India Head, Xiaomi
  • MEENAKSHI PRIYAM, Head HR, Novartis India
  • NIKHIL SHAH, MD, Alvarez & Marshal
  • PULKIT TRIVEDI, Head - Tech Vertical, Google
  • ROHIT KUMAR, General Counsel, United Phosphorus
  • SATHEESH KRISHNAMURTHY, Head - Affluent & Pvt Banking, Axis Bank
  • SIMERAN BHASIN, CMO, Wildcraft
  • SMRITI KRISHNA SINGH, EVP - HR, MSM, Sony Entertainment Network
  • SURAJ BAHIRWANI, COO, Hyper Markets, Aditya Birla Retail
  • VANI GUPTA DANDIA, Director, Marketing, Kurkure Master Brand, PepsiCo India
  • VINEET GAUTAM, CEO, Bestseller India
  • VISH NARAIN, Country Head, TPG Growth
  • Business Today releases the ninth listing of India's top young corporate leaders under the age of 40.
  • AMRITA PANDEY, VP and Head, Marketing and Distribution, Studios, Disney India
    Age: 35
    Goal in life: Have not set goals. Things have just happened and I have a lot to accomplish in my current role.
    First big break: Working closely on Rang De Basanti and Swades
    Mentor: Ronnie Screwvala
    Best leadership lesson received: You have got to take hard calls, and you have got to do what you got to do. You need to jump out of failures fast
    Inspiration: The people you work with regularly
    How do I multi-task: Believe in serial tasking, not multi-tasking
    How I manage work-life balance: Switch off when required and travelling, which also adds to personal growth
  • CHIKI SARKAR, Publisher, Penguin India
    Age: 37
    Goal in life: To publish great books and sell the hell out of them
    First big break: Bloomsbury Publishing, London
    Mentor: Alexandra Pringle, then Publisher, now Group Editor in Chief at Bloomsbury
    Best leadership lesson received: Publishing is all about your writers, being a publisher means you have to learn to take your books out into the world.
    Inspiration: Books
    How do I multi-task: "Like everyone else. I have a job but I also run a home."
    How I manage work-life balance: Most publishers will tell you there is no such thing. Our social lives revolve around our writers. I keep fit by running and I do yoga regularly.
  • GAURAV BANERJEE, GM, Star Plus               
    Age: 38
    Goal In Life: To enable novel and impactful story-telling.
    First big break: The launch of Star Ananda in 2005.
    Mentor: Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India
    Best leadership lesson received: The job of a leader is to enable conditions for teams to take risks and create a strategy that supports risks.
    Inspiration: Steve Jobs and Mahatma Gandhi.
    How do I multi-task: I focus on one task at a time. I figure out what's the most important task at a given time and focus on that.
    How I manage work-life balance: I am a foodie, I  love to watch cricket and play Football with my son. If  one is passionate about something, one will always find time for it.
  • GUNJAN SHAH, Partner, Amarchand Mangaldas                    
    Age: 39
    Goal in life: Apart from the practice of corporate law, I want to participate in the development of law and policy in India.
    First big break: Being offered a position with Amarchand Mangaldas upon graduation from law school.
    Mentor: Shardul Shroff.
    Best leadership lesson received: When your team is working hard and round-the-clock, you need to be in the trenches with them.
    Inspiration: Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who hails from a Puerto Rican immigrant family but through her dedication and hard work has made it to the US Supreme Court.
    How do I multi-task: By focusing on one task at a time and not letting anything distract me.
    How I manage work-life balance: I am still working on it. I begin my day with a yoga and workout session.
  • KARAN BHAGAT, MD and Country Head, IIFL Wealth Management                       
    Age: 36
    Goal in life: To continue with the successful entrepreneurial journey and continue to innovate.     
    First big break: Not being able to go to Spain for my first job after my MBA in 2001 due to 9/11 and joining an Indian domestic financial services firm.
    Mentor: My parents, colleagues, Nirmal Jain, clients 
    Best leadership lesson received: Be honest/be grounded and stay focused.
    Inspiration: My wife and my kids are my biggest motivation
    How do I multi-task: Efficient team and partners can only and only enable you to multi-task in an effective manner.
    How I manage work-life balance: I have a office set up at home and during weekends I spend most of the time with family. I enjoy playing poker, writing, and seeing fun movies.
  • MANU KUMAR JAIN, India Head, Xiaomi
    Age: 34
    Goal in life: I want to do something very different, something which would impact large number of people.
    Mentors: Ireena Vittal, D. ShivaKumar and Naveen Tiwari of InMobi
    Best leadership lesson received: Make sure that everyone who is in the leadership role should try to groom others. Have an honest discussion with everyone.
    Inspiration: People who have made a large impact in life and those who are remembered a lot after they are gone are my inspiration. Dhirubhai Ambani, Narayan Murthy, Nandan Nilekani, Steve Jobs, Roger Federer.
    First failure in life: When I failed to convert 12 summer placement interviews from top consulting firms during my MBA days.
    How I manage work-life balance: I and my wife try to match our travel schedules to spend more time together.
  • MEENAKSHI PRIYAM, Head HR, Novartis India
    Age: 36
    Goal in life: Lead a meaningful life with a purpose of impacting organisations that I work for and people that I interact with positively.
    First big break: Becoming the Regional HR Director for Johnson & Johnson at the age of 32 years.
    Big leadership lesson: Connecting to people's minds can have an impact.
    Inspiration: I find them everywhere, almost every day!
    How I manage work-life balance: Last year was possibly one of the most intense work years for me and hence also one of the years when I took maximum holidays... each leaving me energized to give my best. I focus high on balanced eating habits and good sleep. And when I am not working, happily dancing to the tunes of my daughter!
  • NIKHIL SHAH, MD, Alvarez & Marshal 
    Age: 36
    Goal in life: Short-term goals revolve around growing A&M in India. The long-term goal is to make a positive difference to society and contribute to better business practices.  "I also strive to be the best son, father and husband," he says.
    Mentor: Father and Sankar Krishnan. "My father taught me the value of perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges while building a logistics company together," he says. He worked with Sankar on the first turnaround assignment as interim CFO at OCM India. "Krishnan taught me the importance of clear and transparent communication with all stakeholders especially in crisis situations."
    How I manage work-life balance: Running two to three times a week for an hour. "I find that it really helps me stay fit physically and mentally. I also enjoy travelling and learning about different cultures."
  • PULKIT TRIVEDI, Head - Tech Vertical, Google
    Age: 39
    Goal in life: To be a part of transforming education in India.
    Best leadership lesson: Leaders produce leaders. The ability to build strong teams is the true testimony of strong leaders.
    Inspiration: My father, who always inspired us to imbibe self-belief, conviction & integrity in life.
    Mentor: I do not have one, but I do reach out to a few seasoned people both in the corporate world and outside for career and non-career advice.
    How do I multi-task: Over the years I have seen successful people follow one principle "Do the most important things first" and I have tried to imbibe this. Effective collaboration at workplace is also vital.
    How do I manage work-life balance: I play and run. I am an avid music listener, movie buff and socially very active. Spending time with young kids is revitalizing and I do this with my son and his friends pretty often.
  • ROHIT KUMAR, General Counsel, United Phosphorus
    Age: 36
    Goal in life: Lead a meaningful life with a purpose of impacting organisations that I work for and people that I interact with positively.
    Best leadership lesson: Set goals in life and work hard to achieve them.
    First big break: The job in J. Sagar Associates.
    Mentor: Jyoti Sagar, R.D. Shroff and Rajendra Darak.
    Inspiration: Charles Thomas Munger and Benjamin Franklin.
    How do I multi-task: Avoiding distractions and managing time.
    How do I manage work-life balance: By demarcating time for family and office.
  • SATHEESH KRISHNAMURTHY, Head - Affluent & Pvt Banking, Axis Bank
    Age: 37
    Goal in life: Constantly innovate and leave my footprint. I like bigger challenges.
    First big break: Getting through IIT. There are people shining all across
    Inspiration: My father, who was a banker with Syndicate Bank for three decades. So banking is in my blood.
    Best leadership lessons: A leader is someone who has followers and true leaders is somebody who  gets his followership. He drives his followership because they want that  or share his vision.
    How do I multi-task: Life at Axis bank is all about multi tasking.
    How do I manage work-life balance: It's a hard thing to do. It's a challenge. I find my peace with playing chess and reading.
    Currently reading: Barack Obama's story 'Dreams from my father' 
  • SIMERAN BHASIN, CMO, Wildcraft     
    Age: 39
    Goal in life: Right now, to make Wildcraft an even greater success than it is and to take it international markets. In the long term, to start something on her own.
    First big break: The opportunity to build Fastrack early in the career.
    Mentor: Ronnie Talati, Sr Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Watches & Accessories Division, Titan Company
    Best leadership lesson received: Hire for talent, train for skills
    Inspiration: My parents, Bobo Bhasin and Kamini Bhasin.
    How do I multi-task: I have a hugely supportive family and I have been fortunate to work with very good teams that have been flexible enough.
    How do I manage work-life balance: I have a three-and-a-half-year old daughter and my husband, who runs an investment fund, works from home, so that's a huge advantage.
  • SMRITI KRISHNA SINGH, EVP - HR, MSM, Sony Entertainment Network 
    Age: 39
    Goal in life: To live life to the fullest.
    First big break: Not one particular break, as every opportunity was different.
    Mentor: Father
    Best leadership lesson received: Prioritise and get the more important things done perfectly.
    How do I multi-task: Use any and every time available to get things done. Also depends on lists.
    How do I manage work-life balance: With the help of a supportive husband and a new found appreciation for working mothers. Also, go running or walking on the beach close to home, which helps stay calm.
  • SURAJ BAHIRWANI, COO, Hyper Markets, Aditya Birla Retail
    Age: 36
    Goal in life: Retire from Aditya Birla group as a business director. And, become a good husband and father.
    First big break: Working with the office of Kumar Mangalam Birla.
    Mentor: Kumar Mangalam Birla.
    Best leadership lesson received: Listen to everyone than speaking to them.
    Inspiration: Father, who never asked me to join family business.
    How do I multi-task: By focusing on one task at a time and not letting anything distract me from completing it.
    How do I manage work-life balance: With the help of wife Vidhi. I also keep myself mentally and physically fit without adding calories.
  • VANI GUPTA DANDIA, Director, Marketing, Kurkure Master Brand, PepsiCo India
    Age:
    39
    Goal in life: Helping my team realise its highest potential
    Best leadership lesson: Adapt to change - life hardly ever goes as you expect it to. Yet there is no time to brood over what could have been better.
    First big break: Regional innovation role at Unilever.
    Mentor: Vipul Prakash, VP-Marketing, PepsiCo India; and Rajiv Mathrani, Director & Category Marketing Head-Snacks, PepsiCo India.
    Inspiration: Indra Nooyi.
    How do I multi-task: I am fortunate to have found support in my mother, my friends in the neighborhood and most importantly in PepsiCo.
    How do I manage work-life balance: My morning and evening prayers keep me anchored. Yoga three times a week is the best I manage.
  • VINEET GAUTAM, CEO, Bestseller India      
    Age: 39
    Goal in life: Hotelier by education, he wants to open a restaurant someday.
    Mentor: No mentors.
    Best leadership lesson received: Never take your customers for granted.
    Inspiration: Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos.
    How do I multi-task: I like chaos.
    How do I manage work-life balance: Has been difficult to manage work-life balance, especially over the past five years.
  • VISH NARAIN, Country Head, TPG Growth
    Age: 38
    Goal in life: Invest more capital in India and create more jobs.
    Best leadership lesson: Teamwork trumps individual effort. We are all incomplete blocks moving towards a complete whole.
    First big break: Consultant at Deloitte Consulting.
    Mentor: Nobody specific.
    Inspiration: Sitarist Arvind Parikh, who has beautifully balanced his passion and his business interests (he runs a logistics business out Ahmedabad).
    How do I multi-task: Try to compartmentalise his life. Monday to Friday is business time, while weekends are for my passions.
    How do I manage work-life balance: Sitar is the important balancing factor.
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