Business Today

Sarah Palin’s Indian technocrat

This Indian-American trio holds a unique distinction. Each one is the toplevel technocrat or CIO of his state: Anand Dubey in Alaska, Vivek Kundra in Washington D.C. and Aneesh Chopra in Virginia. Dubey.

     Print Edition: October 19, 2008

Anand Dubey Director, Enterprise Technology Services Alaska/ US
Anand Dubey
This Indian-American trio holds a unique distinction. Each one is the toplevel technocrat or CIO of his state: Anand Dubey in Alaska, Vivek Kundra in Washington D.C. and Aneesh Chopra in Virginia. Dubey, 36, is the first Indian in the job, which, he says, is not just about technology. “Technology is easy. As a CIO, the job is about leadership, money and people,” says the Director of Enterprise Technology Services for Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s state since October 2007. People in the US are finally taking Indian leadership seriously in policy making, he says, and his appointment stems from this.

Ellen J. Kullman President and CEO DuPont/ US
Ellen J. Kullman
On Governor Palin, who selected him for the role, Dubey says: “The biggest learning from Sarah Palin is leadership. She has given the opportunity to young leaders to be a part of public service and lead. If you feel strongly about something, you go out and do it.” Alaska is pre-dominantly a White state and has 900-odd Indians among its population of 700,000. The long-term goal for Dubey is to be an entrepreneur in India. This country is also central to the scheme of things for other technocrats. Kundra, 34, and Chopra, 36, cite India as their inspiration. Kundra wants to “take lessons from India and apply them in the US”. For Chopra, who is the first Indian-American Secretary in Virginia, collaborations with India are high on agenda. “In fact, the Virginia Conference on World Trade in October will exclusively focus on India,” says Chopra, who declares great affection for his Punjabi heritage.

Kathleen Taylor President and COO Four Seasons Hotel/
Kathleen Taylor
Fresh innings
Five months after Wipro chairman Azim Premji rejigged the company’s IT business and appointed two Chief Executives—Suresh Vaswani and Girish Paranjpe—the top-level exits continue at the soaps-to-software conglomerate. The latest to join this increasingly lengthy list is Sudip Nandy, 48, Wipro’s former M&A marksman and President of the firm’s $1-billion (Rs 4,600 crore) Telecom, Media and Technology unit.

Vivek Kundra CTO District of Columbia/ US
Vivek Kundra
Twenty-five years after he joined Wipro, Nandy, an IIT-Kharagpur and IIM-A alum, is now preparing for his next innings. “I’ll be taking a 15-day break after a 25-year career with Wipro and then re-joining the IT industry,” says Nandy. While he’s been cautious with the valuations of all acquisitions at Wipro, he may need to be equally prudent on his next career move given the current market conditions.

In the line of power
While Business Today was putting together its list of most powerful Women in Business in India, a set of power women was making waves worldwide, some while on their visits to India. One of them is the most powerful woman on Madison Avenue—and one of the most prominent businesswomen in New York.

Shelly Lazarus Chairman and CEO Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide/ US
Shelly Lazarus
Shelly Lazarus, 61, the Chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, was in India to celebrate BT’S special issue on the Most Powerful Women in Indian Business. Lazarus is a frequent speaker at industry and leadership forums, not only promoting the power of brands, but also commenting on leadership, women in business and on career and life issues—something she speaks from experience as a wife and a mother of three grown-up children.

Tracy Clarke Group Head of HR Standard Chartered Bank/ UK
Tracy Clarke
On a visit to India for the official launch of Four Seasons Hotels, Kathleen Taylor, 51, President and COO, says: “Four Seasons is special because of its people. The employees make it special.” She should know as she is credited with a key role in the hotel’s growth and success. 

For Tracy Clarke, 41, Group Head of HR, Standard Chartered Bank, the India visit translated into a trip to the global shared services centre in Chennai. She says: “The HR function is moving beyond traditional administrative work. Most CEOs have started taking the HR function seriously and realise the value the HR function can bring about in driving growth in an organisation.” 
Aneesh Chopra Cabinet Secretary Virginia/ US
Aneesh Chopra

Another corporate honcho in the limelight, Ellen J. Kullman, 52, has achieved the distinction of being the first woman President and CEO in the 206-year history of chemical giant DuPont. Her upward trajectory at DuPont started in 1988 in its medical imaging business. Power women surely are taking centrestage the world over.

Contributed by Saumya Bhattacharya, Rahul Sachitanand And Anusha Subramanian

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