Most Powerful Women In Business
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
Those 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
Designer 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
In 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
In 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 position.
ARUNDHATI BHATTACHARYA Chairperson, State Bank of India
The 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.
EKTA KAPOOR Joint Managing Director, Balaji Telefilms
Ekta 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
Geetu 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
Even 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 global market.
KAKU NAKHATE President and India Country Head, Bank of America
A 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 operations.
MEENA GANESH Co-founder & CEO, Portea Medical
As 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.
NISABA GODREJ Executive Chairperson, Godrej Consumer Products
In 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
Padmaja Ruparel 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
Pallavi 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
VIP 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
No 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 agri-business.
REKHA MENON Chairman and Senior Managing Director, Accenture in India
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
Samina 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. 1).
SHANTI EKAMBARAM President (Consumer Banking), Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd
Shanti 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 expand reach.
SONALI KULKARNI President and CEO, FANUC India
It 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
Prathap 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 have created."
SHWETA JALAN Managing Director and Head of India, Advent International
Shweta 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
For 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 functioning MD.
VANI KOLA CO-FOUNDER & MD, Kalaari Capital
Raising 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
Vanitha 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
Padalkar, 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
Singhania, 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
For any 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.
ZARIN DARUWALA CEO, India, Standard Chartered Bank
Zarin Daruwala, 52, is single-mindedly focused on getting things done. "I have a bias for action and persistence," says Daruwala, who moved from ICICI Bank to Standard Chartered in April 2016 . In the last 18 months, her focus has been on ensuring a balance between wholesale and retail assets. Daruwala had been a corporate banker all her life.
The list includes 23 women. These are women who are activists, entrepreneurs, animal lovers, foundation heads, or very driven individuals who have been touched deeply by issues and haven't deterred from spending their life to bring about change.
ALANKRITA SHRIVASTAVA Film-maker
One of the most controversial movies of the year, Lipstick Under My Burkha had a steady run at the box office. The 'lady-oriented' film was initially banned by the Central Board of Film Certification for its explicit scenes and use of abusive words. But Alankrita Shrivastava, the film's director and co-writer, was unfazed. She appealed to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal and got it cleared for release.
AMLA RUIA Founder, Aakar Charitable Trust
To date, Aakar Charitable Trust, founded by Amla Ruia has constructed 270 check dams for harvesting water and directly improved the lives and economic conditions of 1,56,000 people across 115 villages. From less than 20 per cent of arable land, these villages now have water throughout the year, and 80 per cent of the total land is now cultivable.
ELSA MARIE D'SILVA Co-founder, Red Dot Foundation
Elsa Marie D'Silva, Founder and Chief Executive of Red Dot Foundation, an Internet platform that crowdsources reports of harassment and assault in public places, aggregates the data and creates local maps that highlight the hot spots of gender-based violence. The data and the maps enable individuals, communities and local administration to identify the factors that trigger such violence and work on solutions.
GAYATHRI VASUDEVAN Co-founder and CEO, LabourNet Services India
Gayathri Vasudevan had set up Labournet in 2008. Labournet developed modules for a range of skills - masonry, plumbing, carpentry, electrical work, beautician and more - with the twist that these would be imparted onsite. Labournet concentrates on the construction, apparel, leather and rubber industries, where manpower needs are huge.
GEETA GOEL Vice President, Mission Investing, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
When Geeta Goel joined Michael & Susan Dell Foundation in 2007, she was all set to break new ground, that of impact investing. To date, the foundation has spent around Rs 1,100 crore through grants, debt and equity funding, helped 40 social enterprises working on education, financial inclusion and livelihoods, and impacted around 11 million households.
HASINA KHARBHIH Founder, Impulse NGO Network and Impulse Social Enterprise
Fight against human trafficking can be complex and tedious but Hasina Kharbhih does not hesitate to take the bull by the horns. Hasina Kharbhih founded Impulse has dealt with 72,465 cases of human trafficking, child labour, illegal organ transplant and sexual exploitation. The NGO has trained 30,000-plus personnel from the law enforcement agencies present in the region to sensitise and engage them in operations.
JAYASHREE VYAS Managing Director/ Shri Mahila Sewa Sahakari Bank
Jayashree Vyas is the Chairman of Shri Mahila Sewa Sahakari Bank. Mahila Sewa Bank aims to financially empower a million women in the next three years. Vyas got women from the informal sector to set goals and list avoidable and unavoidable expenses. Sewa Bank has five lakh customers, of which one lakh have enrolled into the pension scheme and two lakh into the insurance scheme.
LAXMI AGARWAL Director, Chhanv Foundation
Delhi-based NGO Chhanv Foundation, which helps acid attack survivors and doubles up as a home away from home where their families stay during the treatment, has supported both women and many more like them. Laxmi Agarwal is the Director as well as the face of Chhanv's campaign Stop Acid Attacks that has more than seven lakh followers on Facebook.
NEHA JUNEJA Co-founder, Greenway Grameen Infra
Neha Juneja has co-founded Greenway Grameen Infra to design and market efficient cooking solutions for rural households. Their flagship product is Greenway Smart Stove, built using their patented air-regulated technology, which emits 70 per cent less smoke and uses 65 per cent less biomass as fuel.
NITA AMBANI Director, Reliance Industries and Founder-Chairperson, Reliance Foundation
Reliance Foundation, works in the areas of rural transformation, education, health care, sports for development, disaster response, the arts, heritage and culture, and urban renewal.
POOJA WARIER HAMILTON Co-founder and CEO, UnLtd India
Pooja Warier Hamilton co-founded UnLtd India, an organisation that finds, funds and supports early-stage social entrepreneurs. The idea was born out of her realisation that there exists a vital market gap of support at the earliest stages of a social entrepreneurs journey. With the support of funding agencies and technical experts, UnLtd India has so far supported more than 146 social entrepreneurs who in turn have impacted 2.5 million lives and created 85,000 jobs.
PREETHI HERMAN Executive Director (India), Change.org
When Preethi Herman joined Change.org as Country Director, India, in 2012, there were 50 petitions being signed in India every month with 150,000 users. In five years, the number has surged to an average of 2,000 petitions a month with 7.5 million users who have either started or signed petitions.
REEMA SATHE Founder Director, Happy Roots Foods & Beverages
Reema Sathe founded Happy Roots to empower marginal farmers, even those without own land, with sustainable income. Today, the social enterprise, which makes gourmet snack food such as crackers and cookies, has a network of 15,000 farmers and 2,000 rural women in Vidarbha, Kolhapur and Pune in Maharashtra, with land access of 25,000 acres and a pool of 120 indigenous varieties.
RENANA JHABVALA National Coordinator/ SEWA
Jhabvala, 64, a Padma Shri awardee, is President of SEWA Bharat, the federation of SEWA units across India. SEWA is, of course, the globally renowned trade union of women in the informal sector, the Self-employed Women's Association, set up by the redoubtable Ela Ramesh Bhatt in Ahmedabad in 1972, whose foremost lieutenant, with her since 1978, has been Jhabvala. SEWA is now active across 14 Indian states with around 1.9 million members
RUCHI MATHUR CEO, Pune City Connect
For 44-year-old Ruchi Mathur, it was not enough to belong to a city. She wanted to be its change agent, too. Ruchi is the CEO of Pune City Connect, a platform to bring together government agencies, corporate houses, experts and common citizens and direct efforts to make Pune more liveable. The biggest win for PCC was roping in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
SAFEENA HUSAIN Founder and Executive Director, Educate Girls
Safeena Husain founded the not-for-profit organisation Educate Girls in 2007 which deals with girls education. Her NGO started the campaign with a 500 school-pilot in Pali district, Rajasthan, a state where more than 350,000 girls are out of school. After a decade, Educate Girls is working with 21,000-plus schools, enabling over two lakh girls to get enrolled and reaching over 3.8 million beneficiaries.
SHAHEEN MISTRI Founder and CEO, Teach For India
Shaheen Mistri, Founder and Chief Executive of the NGO Teach For India has accomplished a mammoth task, providing quality education to more than 40,000 children through her NGO and helping another 1.5 lakh through the network of 200-odd Teach For India Fellows.
SHANTI RAGHAVAN Founder, EnAble India
Shanti Raghavan is the founder of EnAble India which is aimed at skilling the disabled. It works with 11 different kinds of challenged people, including those suffering from visual, hearing or motor disabilities, autism, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and more.
SHILPI KAPOOR, Founder, BarrierBreak
BarrierBreak started with software testing services, required to assess if websites and applications are disabled-friendly, and catered to clients in the US and Europe. Next, Kapoor developed digital books for the visually impaired. In 2007, she conceptualised TechShare India, an accessibility and assistive technology conference and exhibition to create awareness.
SHIRANEE PEREIRA Co-founder, People For Animals, Chennai Chapter
An animal lover, Pereira is the co-founder of People For Animals. Pereira, now 53, took early retirement from ICAR in 2012 and works full time for animal welfare. She has also campaigned heavily to regulate animal testing carried out by the pharma industry.
SUNITA NARAIN Director General, Centre for Science and Environment
Sunita Narain is a woman with a mission. Since she joined the CSE in 1982, Narain has been working on a wide range of environmental issues, helping change policies and regulations in areas such as air pollution, food safety, solid waste management and climate change.
SUNITHA KRISHNAN Founder, Prajwala
Prajwala (eternal fire), the organisation set up by Krishnan in 1996, which not only combats sex trafficking but also protects and rehabilitates women and children. Krishnan, whose mission is to end sex slavery and sex crimes globally and give the affected women and their children a life of dignity and an assimilation back into the society, started her first transition home and learning centre with just five children. Today, she has a 300-strong team and has rescued 18,500 victims.
TULASI MUNDA, Founder, Adivasi Vikas Samiti School
Tulasi Munda, a self-taught tribal woman from Keonjhar district in Odisha, is one of grit and gumption. She started her first school in Serenda in 1964, first on the veranda of the village head. Today the Adivasi Vikas Samiti School enrols 1,000 kids and provides education up to the 10th standard for a monthly fee of Rs 200. It also boasts a three-storey building, a playground and a hostel for boys and girls. She does not accept government help as it requires an elaborate compliance procedure but corporate donations to the tune of Rs 1-1.5 crore come in every year.