Business Today

Headhunting Honcho

She also mentors proficient women executives for board roles.
Manisha Singhal        Print Edition: Sep 15, 2013
Anjali Bansal, Managing Director, Spencerstuart India
Anjali Bansal, Managing Director, Spencerstuart India Photo: Nishikant Gamre/www.indiatodayimages.com

When Anjali Bansal signed on to set up the India office of  global executive search company SpencerStuart in 2006, she was taking on a big challenge. But the thought of launching a start-up didn't deter her. She had already worked with a global search firm and also spent some years at consultancy McKinsey & Co. Today, the SpencerStuart India Managing Director is sitting pretty: the company has a string of high-profile clients under its belt including Hindustan Unilever and the Tata Group. "We have become a real voice shaper of opinion and driver of change in the overall corporate ecosystem," says Bansal.

ON THE GLASS CEILING
It does exist but we cannot talk about a gender-related glass ceiling alone. It is also relevant to nationality and ethnicity.
The 42-year-old Bansal has broadened the gamut of services SpencerStuart offers beyond executive search to board advisory and succession planning. So, has she gone beyond the mandate handed to her for India? "My firm says we have, so, yes, I guess we have."

As a woman, she is particularly proud of a programme she launched last year to mentor highpotential women executives for board roles. The mentors include prominent corporate personalities such as HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh. "We are the first firm in India to launch a board index of sorts which tracks trends in corporate governance in India. It covers regulation, board composition and related issues," she says.

Bansal takes her expertise outside SpencerStuart as well. She believes in giving back to the community and is on the board of non-profit organisations such as United Way of Mumbai.  "You will never know which corporate client or which board she is referring to and she maintains discreetness which is an absolute must for this job," says Parekh, with whom Bansal has worked closely over the years.

How does she achieve a work-life balance? "Family is very important," says Bansal. "But you will never get enough time with the family as you'd like. That's the reality of every committed professional. It's a hard choice, but the good thing is you have a choice."

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