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4 Indians among Fortune's most powerful people in biz under 40

By Yoshita Singh
Last updated on: October 10, 2014 13:10 IST
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Four Indians, including a Harvard University professor and the co-founder of India's largest online marketplace Snapdeal, have been named by Fortune in its list of the 40 most powerful, influential and important people in business under the age of 40.

Image: Raj Chetty and wife Sundari Chetty. Photograph: Courtesy, Raj Chetty

The Indians on the list are Economics professor at Harvard Raj Chetty, who is ranked 16 in the list.

New Delhi-born Chetty, 35, focuses on economic mobility and is an "economist on a breakout streak".

His work on the "value-added" of teachers helped win him the prestigious MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" in 2012, after President Barack Obama cited his research in the State of the Union address.

Last year, Chetty won the John Bates Clark Medal, also known as the "baby Nobel", given to the best economist under the age of 40.

Chetty, who earned his Ph.D at Harvard by age 23, now oversees a staff of 10 researchers, a job "he does not take lightly."

"My biggest nightmare is always that someone is going to have made an error in the thousands of lines of code that are involved in these projects and that feeds into some public policy thing," Fortune quoted him as saying.

Image: Micromax co-founder Rahul Sharma. Photograph: Courtesy, Micromax

Micromax co-founder and CEO Rahul Sharma is ranked 21 in the list.

Sharma, 37, started Micromax as an IT software company but he hit upon a "winning formula" by making cheap cell phones with a month-long battery life.

In five years since founding the company, handset sales have grown from 10,000 to 36 million and revenue hit  $500 million last year.

"That could scale much bigger now that it has a deal with Google to make its sub-$100 phones for the Indian market, seen as the next big area of growth for the global tech giants," Fortune said, adding the company even hired renowned Australian actor Hugh Jackman as its brand ambassador.

Image: Kunal Bahl, co-founder and CEO of Snapdeal. Photograph: Courtesy,

Snapdeal Co-Founder and CEO Kunal Bahl ranked 25 on the list.

Bahl, 31, co-founded Snapdeal with high school friend Rohit Bansal and in less than three years, the online marketplace has exploded to become India’s largest.

The eBay-backed company now has 2,500 employees, over 50,000 merchants and crossed $1 billion in sales this year.

Chairman emeritus of the Tata Group Ratan Tata invested personally in Snapdeal.

"Unfazed by competition from Amazon's foray into India, Bahl is doubling down on a diverse product lineup including DNA testing, automobiles, and real estate, targeting  $2 billion in sales by year-end," Fortune said.

A closet food critic, Bahl does not take any notes in meetings and reads all his emails before going to sleep, according to little-known information about him that Fortune published.


Image: Vijaya Gadde, general counsel, Twitter. Photograph: Courtesy, Twitter

Twitter's General counsel and the only woman on the company's executive team Vijaya Gadde is on 28th position in the list.

Indian-born Gadde (39) has proved vital to Twitter’s efforts at international expansion at a time when even though over 70 per cent of the social media company's 271 million users are overseas, it has been banned in multiple countries.

When the Turkish government blocked Twitter last March, Gadde and her 90-person legal team filed lawsuits in local courts, eventually prevailing.

Her list of recent milestones include helping steer the company through one of the most anticipated initial public offerings in recent years.

She says the most important aspect of her job is allowing as much content to flow freely while respecting local laws.

A graduate of Cornell and New York University’s law school, Gadde previously spent close to a decade at a prestigious Silicon Valley law firm.

Fortune said this year's list of "young hotshots who are rocking businesses" includes many from sector as diverse as technology, finance, fashion and film and all have "power, influence, leverage, scale, and ideas that disrupt."

The list also includes 38-year-old co-founder and CEO of texting company WhatsApp, Jan Koum on rank 5, Yahoo's 38-year old CEO Marissa Mayer (ranked 6).

New York Stock Exchange President 38-year-old Tom Farley (ranked 7) and Twitter co-founder and CEO 37-year-old Jack Dorsey.

 The Fortune's 2014 '40 under 40' list has been topped by ridesharing service company Uber's 38-year-old co-founder Travis Kalanick and community-driven hospitality company Airbnb's 33-year-old CEO Brian Chesky.

The list of super-achievers, who "don't like limits, and they don't like being told no" includes Founder and CEO of Facebook 30-year-old Mark Zuckerberg at the number two spot and Italy's youngest Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (39) at the third position.

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