Founders of indigenous COVID-19 vaccine developer Bharat Biotech -- Krishna Ella and Suchitra Ella, along with Cyrus Poonawalla, the chairman and MD of another vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India and Tata group chief N Chandrasekaran were among the top industry leaders who were on Tuesday conferred the country's third highest civilian award, Padma Bhushan.
Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella along with Alphabet Inc and its subsidiary Google CEO Sundararajan Pichai are also among those from trade and industry who have been awarded the Padma Bhushan for their distinguished services.
Krishna Ella, chairman and managing director and his wife Suchitra Ella, co-founder and joint managing director are behind the success of Bharat Biotech, which indigenously developed the COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin.
A research scientist in molecular biology, Krishna Ella and Suchitra Ella had co-founded Bharat Biotech in 1996 after returning from the US to set up a company dedicated to creating innovative vaccines and bio-therapeutics.
Today, Bharat Biotech is among the global leaders in innovative vaccines.
Cyrus S Poonawalla is the chairman and managing director of Serum Institute of India (SII), the world's largest vaccine manufacturer by number of doses produced and sold globally (more than 1.5 billion doses) which includes polio vaccine as well as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Hib, BCG, r-Hepatitis B, measles, mumps and rubella vaccines.
It is estimated that about 65 per cent of the children in the world receive at least one vaccine manufactured by the Pune-based company.
Both SII and Bharat Biotech have played stellar roles in the country's fight against COVID-19 pandemic, while also enabling India to supply the vaccines to various countries across the globe.
Chandrasekaran, the chairman of Tata Sons, the holding company and promoter of all Tata group companies, leads the conglomerate which is present across 10 business verticals with an aggregate annual revenues over $110 billion.
He had joined the board of Tata Sons in October 2016 and was appointed chairman in January 2017, after leading global IT solution and consulting firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in a 30-year business career at the firm.
Global tech giant Microsoft's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella had joined the company in 1992. Before being named CEO in February 2014, he held leadership roles in both enterprise and consumer businesses across the company.
Originally from Hyderabad, Nadella, who earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Mangalore University, also serves on the board of trustees to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and his alma mater the University of Chicago, as well as the Starbucks board of directors.
Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet Inc and its subsidiary, Google, was born in Chennai and earned his degree from IIT Kharagpur in metallurgical engineering.
He had joined Google in 2004, where he led the product management and innovation efforts for a number of Google's products.
He was named Google's CEO in August 2015.
Among the winners of Padma Shri from trade and industry are Prahlad Rai Agarwala, chairman of leading knitwear maker Rupa & Company Ltd, and Chandigarh-based Jagjit Singh Dardi.