On Friday, Roshni Nadar, CEO and non-executive director of HCL Technologies succeeded Shiv Nadar as the Chairman of the company. From 2008 when she joined the board of HCL Corporation to her appointment as Chairman of HCL Technologies on July 17, Roshni Nadar has been making headlines for all the right moves. Not only is she one of the most influential names in Indian entrepreneurship, she is also one of the richest women in the country.
Roshni Nadar was initially not very ambitious about getting involved in HCL Infosystems and HCL Technologies, so she turned her focus to social enterprise. And what better way to do so other than education? Her maiden effort, Vidyagyan School at Bulandshahr in UP offered free education to children in the rural areas. "Money-making and education do not go together," she had said in an interview with BusinessToday.In.
She eventually gave in and joined the board of HCL Technologies in 2013. With Roshni Nadar on board, the company began to change colours. For years, HCL was identified as a technology company. From 2014 onwards HCL started incubating a healthcare business and a skills training company. "HCL Corp always wanted to diversify. Our balance sheet was expanding. You could either have all the money parked in the bank, earning 10 per cent, or invest it in newer areas," she had said.
But things were not as easy as it seems. Nadar, a Northwestern University and Kellogg Graduate School of Management alumnus, was not in tune with the daily dealings of a boardroom. Initially she had trouble understanding the jargon. Roshni Nadar was subsequently groomed to be part of the company's functioning. Her first training was in family office management. "If you have to inherit what your parents have created, you also have to learn to be accountable. That's why the treasury exposure - understanding investments, the markets, the options to invest," she had said.
Roshni Nadar has huge shoes to fill. Her father Shiv Nadar founded HCL Enterprise in 1976. He started the billion-dollar global company from a barsati in Delhi. The company started off as a hardware organisation and is credited for manufacturing the first indigenous computers in the country. From thereon, HCL has been riding the tides of technology. According to HCL, the company is a $9.9 billion global organisation, spread around 46 countries with more than 150,000 professionals.
Even so, Roshni Nadar has already made a name for herself with her social endeavours. She is a trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation that runs the SSN Institutions, the Shiv Nadar University, the VidyaGyan schools for rural children in Uttar Pradesh, the Shiv Nadar School, and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art. Roshni Nadar heads the Shiksha Initiative as well that aims to eradicate illiteracy, aided by technology.
In 2018, Roshni Nadar established The Habitats Trust that aims to work towards protecting the country's natural habitats and indigenous species. She is also the Chairperson of the company's CSR committee.
Roshni Nadar has gathered many accolades over the years for her work. She was awarded with the World's Most Innovative People Award for Philanthropic Innovation by The World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (WSIE), in partnership with the UN in 2015. Roshni was awarded the Lewis Institute Community Changemaker Award by Babson College in 2017 and was a recipient of the Dean's Distinguished Service Award at Kellogg Graduate School of Management. She was named one of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes in 2018. Nadar was named as the Indian Business Leader of the Year 2019 by renowned think tank Horasis. Roshni is also an alumnus of the World Economic Forum' Forum of Young Global Leaders (YGL, 2014-19), a diverse community of world's most outstanding, next-generation leaders.
Roshni Nadar is married to Shikhar Malhotra and they have two sons.