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15 Indian women CEOs and MDs who are leading global companies

A brigade of Indian women CEOs and MDs are inspiring generations of women to dream big and hustle for their goals. From Vimeo to Tinder, global companies today are being helmed by a group of powerful Indian and Indian-origin women.

Indian women CEOs and MDs who are calling the shots at leading global companies

Leena Nair, CEO, Chanel


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An electronic engineering graduate from Sangli’s Walchand College of Engineering and a management gold medalist from XLRI, Jamshedpur, Nair occupied the top seat at French luxury fashion house Chanel in January 2022. Nair served as the Chief Human Resource Executive at British consumer-goods packaged food giant Unilever PLC before joining Chanel. She was the first female, first Asian, and the youngest ever Chief Human Resource Executive at Unilever. Nair has always been a champion for change and a firm believer in equality and inclusivity. She was honoured with the Great British Business Woman Role Model of the year award in 2021.

Roshni Nadar, Chairperson, HCL


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As the Chairperson of HCL Technologies and the CEO of HCL Corporation, Nadar is the first woman to lead a listed information technology company in India. She also serves as the Chairperson of VidyaGyan, a leadership academy for the economically underprivileged, meritorious, rural students. In this role, she nurtures future leaders from rural India. Nadar is also passionate about wildlife and conservation and set up The Habitats Trust in 2018. She is a Communications undergrad from Northwestern University and did her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management.

Sharmistha Dubey, CEO Match Group

Dubey is responsible for revolutionising dating in the millennial generation. She is the driving force at the Match Group, which owns online dating platforms like Tinder, Match, OkCupid, and Hinge. She was brought up in Jamshedpur and pursued metallurgical engineering at IIT Kharagpur. She started her career as an engineer at Texas Instruments. He journey with the Match Group began in 2006, where she handled multiple roles. She was made the Chief Operating Officer of Tinder in 2017. Dubey serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Match Group currently. She was chosen as the Tech Leader of the Year at Vogue Women of The Year 2021.

Revathi Advaithi, CEO, Flex

Named in Fortune’s Most Powerful Women List in 2019 and 2020, Advaithi started her career as a shop floor supervisor at Eaton in Oklahoma’s Shawnee. She joined Flex, previously known as Flextronics as its Chief Executive Officer in 2019. She is known for being a quick decision-maker. Advaithi also serves as an independent director for the board of directors of Uber and Catalyst. An advocate for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, Advaithi is a member of the MIT Presidential CEO Advisory Board.

Amrapali Gan, CEO, OnlyFans


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Gan was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of OnlyFans, in December 2021. OnlyFans is a subscription-based platform that helps content creators earn money from users who subscribe to their content. Before being promoted to the top seat, Gan served as the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at OnlyFans. Born in Mumbai, Gan served as the Head of Brand Communications at Quest Nutrition. She also helped the first cannabis restaurant in the US as Vice President of Marketing.

Jayshree Ullal, CEO, Arista Networks


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As the Chief Executive Officer and President of American computer networking company Arista Networks, Ullal led the company to a historic and successful IPO and turned it into a multibillion-dollar business. Born in London, Ullal joined Arista in 2008 after working at Cisco for more than 15 years. She is also on the board of directors of Snowflake since 2020. She was included in the Forbes list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women 2021. Ullal studied electrical engineering from San Francisco State University and did her master’s in engineering management from California’s Santa Clara University.

Sonia Syngal, CEO, Gap Inc

Born in India and raised in the US and Canada, Syngal is taking GAP Inc to greater heights as its Chief Executive Officer. She is one of the few female CEOs to be included in the Fortune 500 list. Before joining GAP Inc in 2004, Syngal worked at Sun Microsystems and Ford Motor Co. She studied mechanical engineering at Kettering University and did her master’s in manufacturing systems engineering from Stanford University in 1995. She is credited for using graphic tees by Gap Inc as a platform for young women to raise their voices.

Anjali Sud, CEO, Vimeo

Sud worked in the capacity of general manager and head of marketing at Vimeo before she was promoted to Chief Executive Officer of the video platform in 2017. She holds a B.Sc. in Finance and Management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and studied MBA at Harvard Business School. Born in Michigan to Indian immigrant parents, Sud has also worked in companies like Amazon, Time Warner, and Sagent Advisors. She is a designated Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.

Priya Lakhani, CEO, Century Tech


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Lakhani is doing exemplary work in the field of AI-based learning technologies and tools for schools and colleges. She founded Century Tech in 2013 after being struck by underachievement rates in schools. She is also a co-founder of The Institute for Ethical AI in Education. She quit a career in law to follow her passion for business. Lakhani holds a master’s in Law from the University of London. She was awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2014. She was also was appointed to the UK government’s AI Council in 2019.

Padmasree Warrior, CEO, Fable


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Warrior’s Linkedin bio describes her as a leader, who’s passionate about technology, entrepreneurship, and global business. She founded Fable, a curated reading platform focused on mental wellness in 2019. She has also worked as the Chief Technology Officer of Cisco and Motorola. She has been the CEO of NIO USA, an electric car company. She was raised in Vijayawada. Warrior studied chemical engineering from IIT Delhi and did her master’s from Cornell University.  She was featured in Forbes’ list of  100 most powerful women in the world.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson & MD, Biocon

Shaw is a first-generation entrepreneur and global business leader with over 4 decades of experience in biotechnology. She founded Biocon in 1978 from her garage in India. One of the most celebrated women in the country, she is a proud recipient of the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards. Shaw received the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2020 and the EY Entrepreneur of the Year India Award in 2019. She studied B.Sc. Zoology Hons at Bangalore University and did a Post-Graduate Diploma in Malting and Brewing from the Ballarat Institute of Advanced Education in Melbourne, Australia.

Reshma Kewalramani, CEO, Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Born in Mumbai, Kewalramani became the first female CEO of a large US biotech firm Vertex Pharmaceuticals. She immigrated to the US with her family at the age of 11. A graduate of Harvard Business School’s General Management Program, Kewalrmani started her career as a physician. She worked in the biopharma sector for 12 years before joining Vertex Pharmaceuticals in 2017. She was made the President and CEO in 2020-21. She was honoured with the TiE Boston Healthcare Leadership Award. She has also been named one of Boston Business Journal’s Power 50.

Aruna Jayanthi, MD, Capgemini Canada and Latin America

Indian women CEOs
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Jayanthi currently heads Capgemini’s business in Canada and Latin America. She has also served as the CEO of Capgemini India and has held several leadership positions in the company. She has been with Capgemini since early 2000 and was a part of the core team that initiated and set up the offshore capabilities. She has also served as the Chairperson of the Board of Governors of the National Institute of Technology Calicut, Independent Director of SBI Capital Markets, and member of the Executive Council of Nasscom. Jayanthi was recognized as the most powerful woman in India by Business Today. She got the 4th position in Fortune India’s list of 50 most powerful Indian women.

Vanitha Narayanan, MD, IBM India

Named as one of the most powerful women by Fortune India and Business Today, Vanitha Narayanan is credited for making India one of the fastest-growing markets for IBM. She has also served as the Chairperson of IBM from 2017 to 2018. Currently, she is the MD of the IBM-Verizon relationship. She works closely with the NITI Aayog on formulating policies for making students industry-ready. She has also served as the Chairperson of the American Chamber of Commerce in India and an executive council member of NASSCOM.

Neelam Dhawan, MD, HP India

Indian women CEOs
Image: Neelam Dhawan/Linkedin

Dhawan handles countrywide responsibility for revenues and profitability as the Managing Director of Hewlett-Packard India. Her job also includes ensuring leverage from HP’s services, Personal Systems, and imaging and printing businesses.  She studied economics at St Stephen’s College in Delhi. She pursued an MBA from the Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi. Dhawan also served as the Managing Director of Microsoft India from 2005 to 2008. She began her career in 1982 and has over 38 years of experience in the information technology industry.

Feature Image courtesy: Leena Nair/Linkedin

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