State Bank of India Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya and ICICI Bank Managing Director Chanda Kochhar are among the five women from India featured in Forbes’ 100 most powerful women in the world, a list topped by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Bhattacharya is ranked 36th on the power list, while Kochhar is 43rd. Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is ranked 92nd on the list.
PepsiCo’s India-born Chief Indra Nooyi is 13th on the list while Cisco’s Chief Technology and Strategy OfficerPadmasree Warrior is ranked 71st on Forbes’ “definitive annual guide to the extraordinary icons and leaders, groundbreakers and ceiling crashers who command the world stage.”
Merkel, who retained her numero uno spot this year, has made the list 10 times out of the past 11 editions and nine times as No. 1.
Merkel is followed by Chair of the US Federal Reserve Janet Yellen, philanthropist Melinda Gates (3), former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (6), General Motors’ first woman CEO Mary Barra (7), First Lady Michelle Obama (8) and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (9).
Forbes said as the head of India’s largest lender with about USD 380 billion in assets, Bhattacharya holds “one of the most powerful positions” on the Asian subcontinent.
“Not only is she the first woman appointed to the position, but she is also the youngest at age 57,” it said. Bhattacharya has served almost every function within the company, including foreign exchange, treasury, retail operations, human resources and investment banking. “When the Indian economy showed signs of slowing, she voiced strong support for major reforms across agriculture, industry and the financial sector.
She’s been an ally to women at SBI, introducing a two-year sabbatical policy for women employees for child or elder care and serving on a team to create blueprints for the first all-women bank, Forbes said.
Kochhar, 52, oversees almost USD 125 billion in assets as Managing Director and CEO of ICICI Bank. “She has been credited with leading a remarkable transformation at the firm, which experienced major setbacks after the 2008 financial crisis,” Forbes said.
Her focus on “mobile banking” in rural areas to reach more clients has been praised as a model for low-cost expansion in a country with a burgeoning middle class.
Kochhar has been an outspoken proponent of clearer banking laws from the government led by new Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Shaw, 61, is the founder of India’s leading biotechnology enterprise and the country’s wealthiest self-made woman with a net worth of USD 655 million, Forbes said. Her company this year developed a treatment for breast cancer more affordable than anything previously on the market.
She is the first female chair of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. An active philanthropist, she recently donated USD 5 million for a new research unit at her cancer hospital in Bangalore.
On Nooyi, 58, the magazine said she once again exceeded analyst expectations and the beverages giant delivered a good performance under her leadership.
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