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These women broke the glass ceiling to reach the top

Last updated on: March 8, 2013 12:13 IST

These women broke the glass ceiling to reach the top

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A few women make a big difference in India's corporate world dominated by men.  

Though women do not have a proportionate representation in Indian companies, they are better off than women in other parts of the world when it comes to top positions.

According to Fortune India, women have an 'overwhelming influence on India Inc'.

Meet some of India's most powerful and influential women executives.

Note: The CEOs are not ranked in any order.

Please take the poll at the end of the slide show to select your favourite CEO. If you think the most successful CEO is not among the ones listed here, please mention it in the message board below.

Complete coverage: Union Budget 2013-14


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Chanda Kochhar

Chanda Kochchar began her career as a management trainee in 1984 and successfully rose through the ranks.

Kochchar, MD and CEO of the ICICI Bank is credited for for balancing growth and profitability and pushing up the bank's valuation by almost two-thirds.

She is the 8th highest paid women CEO in India with an annual pay package is at Rs 4.24 crore. 

Chanda Kochhar has been named as the most powerful woman in business in India for the second consecutive year by Fortune Magazine.

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Image: Chanda Kochhar.
Photographs: Reuters.
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Shikha Sharma
MD & CEO, Axis Bank

Shikha Sharma started her career with ICICI, India's largest financial service provider in 1980. 

In 1998, she became the Managing Director of ICICI Personal Financial services. Shikha Sharma also served as the Director of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company till April 2009. 

Today, she is the Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director of Axis Bank Limited and Chairperson and associate Director of Axis Asset Management company Limited since June 1, 2009. 

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Image: Shikha Sharma.
Photographs: Courtesy, Axis Bank.



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Photographs: Courtesy, Axis Bank.
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Vinita Bali
MD, Britannia Industries

Vinita Bali was appointed Managing Director on 31 May 2006.  Vinita joined as Chief Executive Officer of the Company in January 2005. 

She started her career with Voltas, a Tata Group company 

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Mallika Srinivasan
Chairperson, TAFE

Mallika Srinivasan is a strategist known for professionalism, commitment to excellence and contribution to Indian industry and academia. 

She leveraged the company's resources and competencies to increase TAFE's revenues from $20 million in 1985 to $1.6 billion in the year 2012. 

TAFE is now among the three largest tractor manufacturers in the world.

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Image: Mallika Srinivasan.
Photographs: Courtesy, Tafe.


Image: Mallika Srinivasan.
Photographs: Courtesy, TAFE.
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Aruna Jayanthi
CEO, Capgemini India 

Aruna Jayanthi oversees the operations across all the business units – Consulting, Technology services and Outsourcing services in India with a focus to increase the integration and performance of a growing  employee base.

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Preetha Reddy
MD, Apollo Hospital Enterprises

Preetha Reddy had joined Apollo Hospitals as Joint Managing Director in 1989 and five years later, she became the Managing Director of the Group. 

Preetha steers the operations of the Apollo Hospitals group and works closely with the clinicians to help introduce contemporary protocols and continually raise the bar for clinical outcomes. 

She also oversees the planning, designing and funding of new projects, with a view to directing the Group towards optimum utilisation of resources and funds. 

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Image: Preetha Reddy.



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Sobhana Bhartia
Chairperson, HT Media

Shobhana Bhartia, who has been associated with the company since its inception, took over as the Chairperson in September 2008. 

She has spearheaded the company's long-term vision and strategy.  Bhartia is in charge of formulating and directing the editorial policies of the company and has more than 25 years of experience in the newspaper industry.

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Chitra Ramakrishna
Joint MD, NSE

Chitra Ramkrishna is the Joint Managing Director of the National Stock Exchange of India. 

Chitra has been with the National Stock Exchange of India from its inception. In 1991, she was part of the core five- member team selected by the government of India and tasked with the creation of a modern screen-based pan-Indian stock exchange that would offer domestic and institutional investors a state-of-the-art market-place for trading and settling Indian equities. 

She is the CEO of the National Settlement & Clearing Corporation of India Ltd, and is a member of several boards & Policy Committees.

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Roopa Kudva
MD & CEO, CRISIL

Roopa Kudva is Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of CRISIL and she is also Region Head, South Asia, Standard & Poor's which is the foremost global provider of financial market intelligence. 

Prior to this, she was the Executive Director and Chief Rating Officer of CRISIL. She joined CRISIL in 1992 and has worked in emerging markets in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries.

Previously, she worked at Industrial Development Bank of India for six years in the Project Finance department.

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Naina Lal Kidwai
Country Head, HSBC India

Naina Lal Kidwai, a chartered accountant by profession is currently the Group General Manager and Country Head of HSBC India.

Naina Lal Kidwai is also the President of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)

Kidwai was the first Indian woman to graduate from Harvard Business School.

From 1982-1994 she worked at ANZ Grindlays, where her assignments included Head of the Investment Bank, Head of Global NRI Services and Head of the Western India, Retail Bank.

She is on the Governing Board of NCAER, Audit Advisory Board of the Comproller and Auditor General of India, and on the National Executive Committee of CII and FICCI.

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Image: Naina Lal Kidwai.
Photographs: Reuters.
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Zia Mody
Co-founder, AZB Partners


Zia Mody received her Law degree from the University of Cambridge, UK in 1978. 

She was enrolled as an advocate with the Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa in 1978 and did her LLM from Harvard Law School. 

Zia was admitted as a member of the New York State Bar by examination in 1980. She started her practice as a corporate associate with Baker & McKenzie in New York from 1979 to 1983.

In 1984 she started her own practice and later entered into a partnership with the law firm called AZB & Partners, Advocates & Solicitors.


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Image: Zia Mody.
Photographs: Courtesy, law.harvard.edu.
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Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
MD, Biocon

Under Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw's leaderhip, Biocon has evolved from its inception in 1978 as an industrial enzymes company to a fully integrated biopharmaceutical enterprise encompassing a well balanced  business portfolio of products and services. 

Her pioneering efforts in biotechnology have drawn global recognition both for Indian Industry and Biocon.

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Kalpana Morparia
CEO, J.P Morgan India


Kalpana Morparia is Chief Executive Officer of J.P. Morgan, India. Morparia leads each of the firm's lines of business - Investment Banking, Asset Management, Treasury Services  and Principal Investment Management. 

She also has responsibility for Service Groups  operating in India, including Global Research, Finance, Technology and Operations.


Internationally, Morparia is a member of J.P. Morgan's global strategy team headquartered in New York and the J.P. Morgan Asia Pacific Executive Committee. Morparia serves as an independent director on the Boards of several leading Indian companies.


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Amrita Patel
Chairperson, National Diary Development Board

Amrita Patel heads the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), founded in 1965 to empower rural people.

NDDB began its operations with the mission of making dairying a success story for grassroots milk producers. 
Its mission 'Operation Flood', saw India grow as the world's largest milk producing nation.

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Aisha De Sequeira
MD, Morgan Stanley India Investment Banking


Aisha de Sequeira is a Managing Director and Head of Investment Banking, India responsible for overseeing the full spectrum of investment banking services including advisory and capital raising for Indian clients. 

She joined Morgan Stanley in 1995, where as a Managing Director she executed financial advisory assignments, including cross-border engagements, across a wide range of industries. 

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Image: Aisha De Sequeira.
Photographs: Courtesy, yale.edu.
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Harshbeena Zaveri
MD & President, NRB Bearings

Harshbeena Sahney Zaveri joined NRB Bearings as a management trainee in 1986. 

She was first appointed as executive assistant to the chairman and MD. Later, she became manager, corporate planning and purchase.

She was appointed whole time director by the Board in 1994 with functional charge of marketing and later given additional charge of materials, and corporate quality. In 1999, she was promoted as President of NRB Bearings Limited. 

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Image: Harshbeena Zaveri.
Photographs: Courtesy, www.naaree.com.



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Prabha Parameswaran
MD, Colgate-Palmolive India

Prabha Parameswaran joined Colgate-Palmolive, India in 1995. She has since, held a series of significant positions in New York in Global Business Development Oral Care and in Global Toothbrush Division. 

She was responsible for developing oral care strategies and new products where she provided critical leadership to subsidiaries in setting category and commercial strategies. 

With her strong leadership and proven marketing skills, Prabha, in her current role, will continue to drive growth in the Indian market.


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Mira Kulkarni
MD, Mountain Valley Springs

Aleading manufacturer of ayurvedic cosmetics and baby care products, Mountain Valley Springs was founded in 2000. 

The company uses pure essential oils and natural plant extracts in its range of skin, body and hair care products.

According to Kline & Company, the company holds an 18.4% share in the Indian spa market.

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Image: Mira Kulkarni.
Photographs: Courtesy, manhattancc.org.
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Kirthiga Reddy
India Head, Facebook

Kirthiga Reddy is the Director of Online Operations and Head of Office India at Facebook India. 

She heads the Facebook's operations in India, supporting the company's growing number of users, advertisers and developers worldwide who are capitalizing on Facebook's global service to foster relationships with people and reach out to new customers locally and internationally.


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Meenakshi Saraogi
Joint MD, Balrampur Chini Mills

Meenakshi Saraogi serves as Joint Managing Director of Balrampur Chini Mills Ltd. 

She has over two decades of experience in the business and was awarded the 'Padmashri' in 1994 for her contribution to the sugar industry. 

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Poll: Who is India's most successful woman CEO?

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