Great Business Leaders of India

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The main difference between a leader and others is that the individual truly sets an example for others with his performance. Leaders perform the hardest tasks before they ask others to do it- they literally show how it needs to be done and inspire others to emulate them.

In the context of the professional world, the leader leads by examples, putting in the hard yards when nobody expects them to do so and helping others achieve their objectives. These professionals can be relied upon in the toughest times to put their company’s interests over theirs.

In many ways a company’s health depends on the number of leaders it has been able to create within its framework – people who can inspire and help others with their own deeds and knowledge.

Most Respected Business Leaders of India – Conglomerate Organisations

Ratan Tata

He became the chairman of the famed Tata Group in 1991 replacing his father JRD Tata. He was the guiding force behind Tata Consultancy Services when it started issuing shares and the listing of Tata Motors on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Tata Indica range introduced in 1998 was pioneered by him. Another major achievement on his part was the acquisition of an Anglo-Dutch aluminium and steel producer Corus Group. Sealed on January 31, 2007 this deal helped to create the 5th biggest steel producing company of the world.

Yet another successful acquisition was from Ford Motor Company of Jaguar & Land Rover. He had also envisaged a car that would be worth only INR 1 lakh. This dream was fulfilled with the Nano that was shown for the first time on January 10, 2008 at the New Delhi Auto Expo. It was formally introduced on March 23, 2009.

Adi Godrej

The Chairman of the Godrej Group, Adi Godrej is responsible for the success attained by the organization even during the times when the Indian economy was not liberalized.

Besides being an industrialist, Godrej is a philanthropist and has been able to organize and update the management set-ups in the company and also effected several procedural betterments.

Once the national economy was liberalized, he changed the organizational policies to deal with the new challenges. In the early part of 2000s the organization concluded a decade long reformation process whereby every business was converted into an independent entity.

He has been a prominent advocate of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and has set up in Mumbai’s Vikhroli Township an environment friendly business campus. It has a mangrove forest spanning 150 acres as well as a school for employees’ wards.

Azim Premji

The Chairman of Wipro Limited took control of the family business in 1966 when he was only 21 year old due to the demise of his father MH Premji. The organization was then known as the Western India Vegetable Product Company.

Thanks to his guidance, the organization has started a period of diversification and growth that can be termed as ambitious. It started by making light bulbs and soon ventured into the following consumer products:
  • Soaps
  • Shampoos
  • Baby care products
  • Powder
The company entered the information technology market during 1980s after the IBM was expelled during 1975. The Wipro Chairman is known to be an economical and modest man even though he has considerable wealth. He presently owns a Toyota Corolla, likes company guest houses over hotels, and travels in economy class.

Business Week has declared him to be one of the leading global entrepreneurs. The Wesleyan University of Middletown, Connecticut conferred on him an honorary doctorate. The recognition was for his stupendous philanthropic activities.

Mukesh Ambani

The Managing Director and Chairman of Reliance Industries is one of the richest men in both Asia and the world and his own wealth is in excess of 1,45,000 Crores. He became a part of the organization during 1991 and was responsible for the biggest grassroots petroleum refinery of the world at Jamnagar.

As of now its capacity is approximately 33 million tons per year or 1.2 million barrels every day. The organization also focuses on other areas like the following:
  • Petrochemicals
  • Ports and other infrastructure connected to them
  • Power
The company has also bought a lot of stake in shale gas properties previously owned by Pioneer Natural Resources, and Atlas Energy Inc.

Kumar Mangalam Birla

The Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group is a qualified chartered accountant who is also a London Business School MBA and Honorary Fellow. He has served in a wide variety of responsibilities such as the Chairman of SEBI Committee on Corporate Governance, and the Chairman of the same organization’s Insider Trading Committee.

He is also credited with India’s first ever corporate governance report. He is also the Chancellor of BITS Pilani and its other branches at Hyderabad, Dubai, and Goa. He also serves as the GD Birla Medical Research and Education Foundation director.

Anil Ambani

The Chairman of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group became a part of the organization in 1983 as a co-CEO. He is often regarded as the brain behind several groundbreaking developments in the capital markets sector of the country.

His takeover of Adlabs is regarded as a major accomplishment on his part – a film production and distribution house, and multiplex organization Adlabs also has the sole dome theater of India. He has also entered into a JV with Steven Spielberg, an acclaimed Hollywood filmmaker.

The deal has been valued at 825 million US dollars. He has shown a keen interest in owing sports clubs and has previously tried to buy Newcastle United and Everton.

Vijay Mallya

The Chairman of the UB Group rose to the position in 1984. His major achievements may be mentioned as below:
  • Acquired Whyte & Mackay, a leading manufacturer of whiskey and scotch, in May 2007 for 595 million pounds
  • Also runs the Indian Premier League cricket team Royal Challengers Bangalore
  • Set up Kingfisher Airlines in 2005. Later on, he purchased 26 percent shares in the low cost carrier Air Deccan and renamed it Kingfisher Red
  • He became a politician during 2000 and became the Janata Party President replacing Subramanian Swamy. At present he is a Rajya Sabha MP.
  • Acquired the Spyker F1 team, along with the Netherlands based Mol family, for 88 million Euros. It was renamed Force India in 2008
  • He brought back Tipu Sultan’s sword to India with a successful bid of 175 thousand pounds at a London auction in 2004
  • UB Group sponsors leading Kolkata based soccer clubs Mohun Bagan, and East Bengal
  • He was also successful in winning back several possessions of Mahatma Gandhi by bidding 1.8 million dollars at an auction in New York during March 2009
  • Mallya is in the group that owns Queen’s Park Rangers FC along with Bernie Ecclestone, Lakshmi Mittal, and Flavio Briatore

Anand Mahindra

The Managing Director and Chairman of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd was employed as a Deputy Managing Director during 1991. During April 1997 he became the MD and became the Vice Chairman during January 2003.

He was one of the promoters of the Kotak Mahindra Finance, which became a bank during 2003. He has also co-founded the Harvard Business School Association of India. Yet another important milestone in his career has been Tech Mahindra’s acquisition of Satyam Computer in 2009.

Most Respected Business Leaders of India- Real Estate and Hospitality

Kushal Pal Singh

The CEO and Chairman of DLF Ltd., Kushal Pal Singh has been able to transform Gurgaon into an outsourcing hub that is famous across the world thanks to the following facilities:
  • Office buildings
  • Shopping malls
  • Apartments
  • Leisure arrangements

In addition to their superb standards, these constructions are also safeguarded against earthquake. He has had the distinction of being the richest real estate businessman of the world in 2008.

He started working at the American Universal Electric Company in 1960 and when it merged in 1979 with DLF Universal Limited, he assumed the position of the managing director.

Under his leadership DLF now has an approximate land quantity of 10,255 acres.

Yogesh Chander Deveshwar

He is the Chairman of ITC Limited. He rejoined the organization in 1994 and was employed as a full time vice chairman and director. He assumed the position of Chairman in 1996. He was the moving force behind ITC’s rise as one of the leading providers of fast moving consumer goods in India.

Most Respected Business Leaders of India- Banks and Financial Institutions

Chanda Kochhar

She is the CEO and MD of the ICICI Bank- she assumed control of the bank from KV Kamath during May 2009. From 2005 onwards she has been a regular feature of the “Most Powerful Women in Business” list brought out by Fortune Magazine. She was inducted in the “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women List” of Forbes during 2009.

Naina Lal Kidwai

The Country Head and Group General Manager of the HSBC Group has also served as the Deputy CEO and CEO of the organization apart from being the HSBC Securities and Capital Markets India Private Limited Managing Director.

She rose to her present position in 2009. She has been a regular feature in the Top Women in Business, a global list brought out by Forbes, has achieved the 12th position in the 2006 Global Listing of Women to Watch of the Wall Street Journal. The Time Magazine, in 2002, included her in the list of 15 Global Influentials.

Aditya Puri

The Managing Director of HDFC Bank has held that post from September 1994 onwards and has worked in the Indian and international banking sector for 38 years. He has also served between 1992 and 1994 as the Citibank Malaysia CEO.

Om Prakash Bhatt

The former SBI Chairman and, now, a Hindustan Unilever Ltd board of directors member has the distinction of being the chairman with the longest term for SBI in recent times. He was employed as SBI Chairman during June 2006.

In 1972 he initiated his career in the bank as probationary officer and hold several important positions. Between January 2005 and April 2006 he has served as the State Bank of Travancore Managing Director.

Most Respected Business Leaders of India- IT and Technology

Narayana Murthy

The chief mentor and founder of Infosys acted as its CEO for a 21 year period between 1981 and 2002 after which he relinquished the position. At present, he has widened his horizon to global promotion of India and social services.

He has initiated a venture fund named Catamaran Venture Fund with the funds he got after he sold 800,000 shares of Infosys that were worth INR 174 crores. Sudha Murthy, his wife, also pitched in with INR 430 crores, an amount she earned after selling her shares in the company.

Murthy has stated that he wants Infosys to be an organization where people from various countries, religions, and races work in a very spirited yet pleasant, distinguished, and polite environment to give the clients the maximum possible value.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

The Managing Director and Chairman of Biocon Ltd started the organization with an initial capital of INR 10 thousand in 1978. Its first operation was enzyme extraction from papayas.

She had applied for loans at that time but was rejected because her company did not have sufficient assets and biotechnology was a new field back then. In the next few years the company has continued to grow in her guidance and is now the largest biopharmaceutical organization in the country.

Subramaniam Ramadorai

The Vice Chairman of Tata Consultancy Services and present Tata Elxsi Chairman started his professional journey as a junior engineer. In 1979 he was given the responsibility of establishing the organization’s US operations starting with New York City.

He led the quality programs of the organization and took 16 Development Centers of TCS to the Software Engineering Institute’s CMM Level 5, which is the most important and best performance appraisal of the organization.

Shiv Nadar

The Chairman of HCL Technologies started an organization named Microcomp for selling teledigital calculators in India and the brand was Televista. HCL was established with an initial capital of INR 187 thousand from its founders in 1976. The UP government also became an equity partner with 26% shares. HCL Technologies went public in 1999 under the guidance of Nadar.

Most Respected Business Leaders of India- Telecom and Automobile

Sunil Bharti Mittal

In April 1976, at the tender age of 18 years Mittal, the Managing Director and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises started making crankshafts for local bicycle makers and this was his first business. He started with a capital of INR 20 thousand, loaned from his father.

He sold the yarn and bicycle parts factories in 1980 and went to Mumbai in 1984 where he began assembling push-button phones. He was successful in winning one of the 4 licenses that were initially auctioned in India in 1992.

The government consented to his plans in 1994 and he initiated, in 1995, the services in Delhi. His organization Bharti Cellular Limited started the brand AirTel. During November 2006 he entered into a joint venture with Wal-Mart and started several retail outlets across the country.

He started Bharti Comtel in July 2006 with several important officials from NIS Sparta, and Reliance ADAG. In recent years, he has bought the Kuwait based Zain Telecom.

Brijmohan Lall Munjal

The founder of the Hero Group started with a business of providing components to bicycle manufacturers in Amritsar and near the city during the late 1940s. They increased their distribution network gradually and by the first half of the 1950s their business had spread all over the country.

Hero Cycles Ltd upgraded its business activities to manufacturing from just supplying from 1954 onwards. In 1984 it entered into a joint venture with the Honda Group from Japan to start making motorcycles.

Last upadted on June 10, 2015