Women are key figures in moulding this world and Forbes lists out the 100 most powerful women each year. This year, 4 Indians and 2 women of Indian Origin are a part of the list.
International magazine Forbes started to list out the world’s most powerful women as an annual feature since the year 2004. It is based on their visibility and economic impact, and is edited and compiled by notable journalists. Kudos to the Indian women or women of Indian Origin, who made their mark on a global platform in the previous year.
1. Arundhati Bhattacharya
At the 30th rank, Ms. Bhattacharya has jumped six spots from last year. Bhattacharya is the 24th Chief Managing Director of the State Bank Of India (a 208-year-old bank), that is, she oversees 2,20,000 staff members in 16,000 branches and services 225 million customers at the country’s largest lender (with assets valued at $400 billion), with offices spread over 36 countries. She is 59 years old and is based in Mumbai. She is the first woman to be the chairperson of SBI and also the first woman to lead an Indian-based ‘Fortune 500’ company.
Bhattacharya was born in Kolkata and spent her childhood in Bhilai. Her mother used to be a Homeopathic consultant and her father worked in the Bhilai Steel Plant. She did her schooling from St. Xavier’s, Bokaro and her undergraduation and graduation from Jadavpur University. She joined SBI 37 years ago as a Probationary Officer. After working in various departments, she was promoted as the chair of SBI in 2013.
Under her tenure, SBI launched digital branches as part of an effort to offer next generation banking services to India’s growing mobile phone and tech-savvy customer base and also installed 800 solar powered ATMs in rural regions. She was also the pioneer behind the two year sabbatical policy for female employees taking maternity leave or giving extended care to family.
2. Chanda Kochhar
At the 35th rank, Kochhar climbed up by eight digits from 2014’s 43rd spot. Kochhar is 53 years old and is the CEO and Managing Director of ICICI Bank, the second largest banking system and the largest private bank in the country. She oversees nearly $125 billion in assets and had recently announced a 14% increase in profits over the last year. ICICI Bank currently has a network of 4,050 branches and 12,665 ATMs across India. It has a presence in 17 other countries and has also recently opened a branch in Shanghai.
Kochhar is currently based in Mumbai but spent her childhood in Rajasthan. She was born in Jodhpur, but raised in Jaipur. She studied at St. Angela Sophia school in Jaipur and did her under-gradation from Jai Hind College, Mumbai. She later received her Cost Accountancy and Business degrees as well. This year, she has also been listed in the TIME magazine’s list of the ‘100 Most Influential People in the World’.
Kochhar has been recognised and awarded many times, and she has been highly praised in the financial sector for her focus on “mobile banking” in rural areas, to reach more clients as a model for low cost expansion in a country with an expansive middle class. She is also known for her demands for clearer banking laws.
3. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
At rank 85, Majumdar-Shaw jumped 7 spots from 2014’s 92nd ranking. She is 62 years old and is the Founder and Chairperson of Biocon Limited and also the Chairperson of IIM-Bangalore. Where Biocon Limited is India’s largest publicly traded bio-pharmaceutical company, which valued its revenue at $460 billion last year and distributes its products in 85 countries around the world, IIM-B is the best business schools in India and Central Asia, as deemed by Eduniversal.
Mazumdar-Shaw won the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s Othmer Gold Medal for contributions to Science through Entrepreneurship, as well as Germany’s Keihl Institute Global Economy Prize for achievements in business in 2014. It is truly ironic that Biocon was founded in 1978 with ₹10,000 as the initial capital, failing to find any financial institution for investment.
Majumdar-Shaw was born in Bangalore to Gujarati parents. She did her Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Biology from Mount Carmel College, Bangalore and did her Master’s in Brewery from Ballart College, Melbourne University, Australia. However, she was not hired in India as it was considered a “man’s field”. She then started Biocon in liaison with its counterpart in Ireland.
Mazumdar-Shaw is also a member of the Board of Governors of the Indian School of Business. She is involved in philanthropy – she established a 1,400-bed cancer care center, the Mazumdar-Shaw Cancer Center, at the Narayana Health City campus in Bangalore, collaborating with Dr. Devi Shetty in 2009. She has also received the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Shri.
4. Shobhana Bhartia
A new entrant in the list, Bhartia ranks at 93rd on the list. She is the Chaiperson of HT media, Chairperson of Endeavour India and the Pro-Chancellor of the illustrious Birla Institute of Technology, Pilani. HT media is the publisher of an English daily, Hindustan Times, a Hindi daily of the same name and a Business paper, Mint. The group also operates four FM radio stations and multiple websites including the job portal, Shine.com, and cinema portal, Desimartini.com. She also has close ties with the Congress party.
She was possibly the youngest and the first woman chairperson of the media house, having inherited it from her father. Bhartia has won the ‘Global Leader of Tomorrow’ award from The World Economic Forum, ‘Outstanding Business Women of the Year’ award and the Padma Shri. She grew up in Kolkata and did her schooling from Loreto house and further studies at Calcutta University.
5. Indra Nooyi
Dropping two spaces from her ranking in 2014, Indra Nooyi tops this list as far as Indians are concerned with her standing at rank 15. She is 59 years old and the Chairperson and CEO of Pepsico, whose net revenue makes it the second largest food and beverage firm in the world. In fact, she has been a consistent inclusion in this list for quite a few years, that is, since 2008.
She had joined Pepsico in 1994 and then had subsequent promotions, first as the CFO and then as the 5th CEO of the company (in 44 years of Pepsico). Her recognition includes 2 honorary degrees, 6 honorary doctorates, the Barnard Medal of Honor and the Padma Bhushan.
She was born in Chennai to a Tamil speaking family. She did her schooling from Holy Angels Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School, her under-graduation in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics from Madras Christian College, her MBA from IIM Calcutta and then another Master’s in Public and Private Management from Yale School of Management. She is currently based in Greenwich CT in the United States.
6. Padmasree Warrior
Currently stationed at number 84, Padmasree Warrior slipped down 13 spots from her previous year’s 71st rank. She is 54 years old and was, till very recently, the Chief Technology and Strategy Officer at Cisco Systems, an American MNC that manufactures and sells networking equipment. The Tech Company is worth 138 billion dollars and is listed in the S&P 500 Index, the Russell 1000 Index, NASDAQ-100 Index and the Russell 1000 Growth Stock Index.
Cisco grew in influence under her tenure through acquisitions, including six in 2014 and 10 in 2013. She is currently based in San Jose, CA, US. She had previously been the CTO of Motorola Inc. as well, where she worked for 23 years. CISCO was awarded the 2004 National Medal of Technology by the President of the United States, their first under her tenure as the CTO of the company.
Warrior belongs to the city of Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh. She did her schooling in Children’s Montessori School and Maris Stella College in Vijayawada. She then got a Bachelor in Chemical Engineering from IIT, Delhi. She went on to study in Cornell doing her Master’s in Chemical Engineering. Warrior also mentors other women in the tech industry, stays in touch with her 1.6 million Twitter followers and routinely follows a night meditation routine. She is also a board member in several councils, including the academic councils at both her alma maters.