Business Today ranks best Indian CEOs based on the shareholder returns they generated during their tenure.
Rank 1: Naveen Jindal, Jindal Steel & Power
He heads Jindal Steel and Power Limited. At 41, he has topped the list of the country's best chief executives over the last decade and a half in a study by Business Today, INSEAD Business School and Harvard Business Review. In the last five financial years alone, as global economic fortunes have swung violently, JSPL's revenue has trebled.
Rank 2: A.M. Naik, Larsen & Toubro
Anil Manibhai Naik, Chairman of Larsen & Toubro since 2003, loves to talk about how he beat IITians when he was starting out. In 1963, as a fresh engineering graduate of Birla Vishwakarma Mahavidyalaya, Gujarat, the odds of him scoring even an interview at L&T were zero, because the company hired only alumni of the Indian Institutes of Technology. However, after a stint at Nestler Boilers, Naik did land a job at L&T in 1965. And by April 1966, he was ahead of IITians who graduated when he did.
Rank 3: Y.C. Deveshwar, ITC Ltd
The mechanical engineer, born in Lahore just before Partition to a government employee, has spent his entire working life at the company once known as Imperial Tobacco, save for three years when he ducked out to run Air India. Next week he turns 65, and starts a new five-year term. That will lengthen his record as the country's longest-serving CEO - an achievement in India, where business is dominated by promoters and family shareholdings.
Rank 4: Bhaskar Bhat, Titan Industries
The 57-year-old Mumbai-born Bhat, with roots in Mangalore, has taken his company miles ahead of the position it occupied in 2002. He has made India-manufactured watches respectable, providing investors undreamt-of returns in the process.
Rank 5: Sunil Mittal, Bharti Airtel
He not only made Bharti Airtel India's largest phone firm by revenues, what makes him stand apart is that he started from scratch. Bharti Airtel counts some 190 million customers in India and South Asia, and nearly 50 million in Africa.
Rank 6: R. Sridhar, Shriram Transport Finance
Financing truck purchases may not be what aspiring entrepreneurs have always dreamed of. But R. Sridhar, the 53-year-old Managing Director of Shriram Transport Finance Company, or STFC, has given it appeal by building a large, profitable company with innovative and aggressive business models.
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