Indian executives in global corporations
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Indian-Americans in mega MNCs
Indian execs don global hats, steer ops from home turf
Local Talent Gains As MNCs Bank On Growth In Desi Market
Samidha Sharma & Shubham Mukherjee TNN
The Times of India 2013/07/06
Mumbai: The rise of executives of Indian origin in the global corporate and management world is by now well documented. However, as a corollary to this, now a growing number of top Indian managers are performing global roles based out of India. Though not a new trend, it was a rare occurrence till a few years ago.
[In 2013] Coca-Cola’s India and south west Asia head Atul Singh was elevated as deputy president of the cola major’s Pacific group comprising 10 countries, including China. However, Singh opted to stay put in Gurgaon just like an increasing number of Indian executives who choose to play global roles out of Indian cities.
Yashwant Mahadik, HR head for India and the subcontinent at Philips, is another recent addition to the growing club of CEOs based in India with a global role. Earlier this year, Mahadik was anointed global HR head for the Dutch conglomerate but remains stationed at Gurgaon, the company’s local headquarters. Singh and Mahadik are joined by the likes of Salil Parekh, CEO, application services and global financial services, Capgemini, who sits in Mumbai with responsibilities of a $5-billion business; Arvind Uppal, head of Asia-Pacific at Whirlpool, who operates out of Gurgaon; and Bangalore-based Subhankar Roy Chowdhury, talent & organizational development leader (Asia-Pacific & Latin America) at Lenova.
There are others who are on global boards, including Ashish Singh, chairman, Bain & Co India, and Noshir Kala, one of the longest serving members on McKinsey’s global partner election committee. Similarly, Janmejaya Sinha, the Asia-Pacific chief, holds one of the top four critical jobs at BCG globally while Saurine Doshi has been on the global board of AT Kearney for a while now. Another Indian partner, Vikas Kaushal, has joined him on the AT Kearney board.
Among the big four, Rajeev Memani has been member of the global practice group of Ernst and Young while Deepak Kapoor is on PWC’s global strategy body. They all have a base in India. The list is long.
The Times of India, Aug 12 2015
Magic mantra for Indians reaching the top in US cos
Asha Rai & Namrata Singh
The announcements are coming fast and furious. Almost every alternate month, it seems, an Indian-born American is being elevated to the corner suite in America Inc, particularly in the technology space. Sundar Pichai's CEO announcement comes days after NetApp named Bengaluruborn George Kurian as CEO.His near-identical twin Thomas Kurian was named Oracle president this January.
In 2014 came the blockbuster news of Satya Nadella becoming only the third Microsoft CEO. Soon after, fellow Manipal-educated Rajeev Suri was made Nokia CEO.Nikesh Arora, SoftBank president and COO, is expected to succeed its legendary founder Masayoshi Son.
These announcements have added velocity to the growing conversations about the rise of India-born CEOs leading some of the world's most famous technology brands, including Adobe and Sandisk.
Naveen Tewari, co-founder & CEO, InMobi, and an IIT Kanpur and Harvard B-School alumnus, believes “hunger with humility“ is what's getting Indians to top positions in technology .“There's a latent hunger in Indians to show success on the global stage,“ he says.“This wasn't easy when we were a closed-market environment. We have the ability to blend into different cultures. Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadella are people with such humility .“
Former Aadhaar chairman and Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani says the ability of these people “to understand technology and the rapidly changing milieu in which it operates because of their earlier experience of dealing with uncertainty while studyingliving in India,“ is a big differentiator. These CEOs -products of India's elite technology institutes where acceptance rates are even lower than Ivy League schools -are “the best of the best.“
Gurnek Bains, founder and chairman of YSC, among the world's leading corporate psychology consultancies, says: “The best Indian leaders can be highly successful on the global stage.Our research indicates that compared to Chinese or leaders from emerging markets, Indians combine strong strategic skills with high levels of intellectual flexibility. No other culture has this combination, essential to largescale businesses operating in a fast-changing world.“
Bains says that Indian leaders have something deeply ingrained in the Indian cultural DNA -acceptance of diversity and ability to work with multiple cultures.Leaders from many cultures struggle with the flexibility required to engage diverse groups. They rank “high on achievement drive -probably a function of the highly competitive Indian system.“
In 2014, Wall Street Journal, soon after the Nadella announcement, argued income arbitrage was one reason Indians outrank the Chinese in the CEO sweepstakes in America. Chinese companies tend to pay their director-level managers almost on par with American ones, it said. Fluency in English, being raised in a democracy which allows people to speak their minds and diversity , were listed as the other reasons.
As in 2019 Dec
CEOs of Indian origin in leading MNCs
2021: Indian-origin executives lead 60 companies
There are some 60 foreign-headquartered companies with revenue over $1 billion each that are led by Indianorigin executives, according to Indiaspora, a non-profit that seeks to bring together the Indian diaspora for collective action. A few of them combine the roles of chairman and CEO, and Satya Nadella has just joined that select group.
IBM veteran Arvind Krishna, who was appointed CEO of the company early last year, took on the additional role of chairman in December. Prem Watsa of Fairfax Financial Holdings also holds both positions, as does Shantanu Narayen of Adobe, and Nikesh Arora of Palo Alto Networks. Mastercard’s Ajay Banga is executive chairman, which gives him an operational role too. There are different views on whether the same person should hold both roles. Vijay Govindarajan, Coxe Distinguished professor, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth & executive fellow, Harvard Business School, said usually the chairman of the board in public corporations is separate from the CEO so that the board can act on behalf of shareholders to ensure corporate governance. But Microsoft, he says, is still a high-growth company and the CEO compensation is mostly in Microsoft stock options whose value depends on realising Microsoft’s future growth, thereby aligning the CEO’s interest with those of shareholders.
“Nadella is a wise leader, so elevating him to the chairman’s role will serve Microsoft shareholders well,” he said.
Top executives of tech giants like Microsoft, IBM, Adobe and Google are well-known around the world but that’s not all. There are several tech executives of Indian origin that hold key positions at some of the biggest tech companies globally. In 2021, Microchip Technology CEO Steve Sanghi transitioned to an executive chair role. Here we look at 16 most important tech executives in the world that are of Indian origin.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google
India-born Sundar Pichai was named CEO of Google parent Alphabet Inc in 2019. Pichai became Google head in August 2014. In his 15 years-plus career with the company, he has led the company’s key businesses including Android, Chrome, Maps, and more. Pichai is also said to be a contender for Microsoft CEO’s post in 2014. He did his BTech from IIT Kharagpur, MS from Stanford (MS) and MBA from Wharton.
Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft
Hyderabad-born Satya Nadella was named Microsoft CEO in February 2014. He succeeded Steve Ballmer. Nadella studied engineering at Manipal Institute of Technology and did MS from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Nadella started his career with Microsoft in 1992 as a developer of Windows NT operating system.
Shantanu Narayen, chairman, president, and CEO of Adobe
Hyderabad-born Shantanu Narayen joined Adobe in 1998 as the senior vice-president of worldwide product research and became the COO in 2005 and CEO in 2007. Before joining Adobe, Shantanu held roles at Apple and Silicon Graphics. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Osmania University, an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MS from Bowling Green State University.
Neal Mohan. YouTube
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki,who has led the global online video-sharing and social media platform for the last nine years, is stepping down from her role and will be replaced by her longtime Indian-American lieutenant Neal Mohan. Neal Mohan has been Wojcicki’s top deputy for years, moving over from Google’s ads business to YouTube in 2015. He was widely seen as her natural successor.
US unicorns’ founders
BENGALURU: Indians are creating unicorns not just in India, they are doing it in the US too.
A study by Ilya A Strebulaev, professor of finance at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, finds that 90 out of 1,078 founders across 500 US unicorns were born in India. Strebulaev’s data covers US unicorns between 1997 and 2019. He tweeted that “Over four out of ten unicorn founders are first gen immigrants.” Israel and Canada followed with 52 and 42 founders respectively.
Among Indian founders of prominent unicorns – past and present – are Baiju Bhatt of Robinhood, the commission-free stock trading app, Rohan Seth of Clubhouse, Apoorva Mehta of Instacart, Dheeraj Pandey, Mohit Aron and Ajeet Singh of Nutanix, Arun Murthy and Suresh Srinivas of Hortonworks, Aayush Phumbhra of Chegg, Gagan Biyani of Udemy, Dhiraj Rajaram of Mu Sigma. Fractal Analytics, which turned a unicorn this year, was founded by Nirmal Palaparthi, Pradeep Suryanarayan, Pranay Agrawal, Ramakrishna Reddy and Srikanth Velamakanni in California, though, like Mu Sigma, has most of its delivery out of India.
Last year, Mohandas Pai’s investment firm 3One4 Capital estimated that 67 of the 288 American unicorns at that time had at least one Indian-origin founder.
America has had a history of extremely successful Indian-origin entrepreneurs including Kanwal Rekhi, Pramod Haque, Kumar Malvalli, Sanjay Malhotra, Gururaj Deshpande, B V Jagadeesh, and Sabeer Bhatia. Many of them may not have built ventures valued at over $1 billion then, but there were indeed the “unicorns” of those times. Four years ago, US-based Kauffman Foundation estimated that 33.2% of the co-founders of engineering and technology firms founded by immigrants in the US since 2006 were Indians. The next highest were the Chinese, at 8.1%.
Another study done in 2007 for the period 1995 to 2005 had found that Indians accounted for 26% of the co-founders during that period. Kauffman Foundation found that the Indian immigrant contribution was the only one that increased; most other immigrant communities saw a decline in their contributions, leading to a general stagnation in immigrant entrepreneurship in the US.
Centre for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), a policy research organisation within Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, conducted a study in 2020 to understand how immigration shapes AI (artificial intelligence) entrepreneurship in the US. The findings showed that 33 of the top 50 AI companies have at least one first-generation immigrant founder, and 53 of the 125 founders are first-generation immigrants. India and Israel were the largest senders of immigrant AI founders, followed by the UK, China, and Portugal.