Market Strategy Expert
Rama Bijapurkar is a leading management and market research consultant who also serves as an independent director on the boards of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, Axis Bank, Bharat Petroleum, CRISIL and Godrej Consumer Products, among other companies. She is the leading voice on India’s burgeoning consumer market, having advised major global and Indian corporations on their market strategy. She also studiously observes and researches the consumption patterns of her fellow Indians and is the author of We Are Like That Only: Understanding the Logic of Consumer India. Bijapurkar is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, where she teaches a seminal course on strategic marketing. She is a respected columnist and has written for The Indian Express, The Economic Times, Forbes India and Businessworld.
Founder and Vice Chairman, Naukri.com
Sanjeev Bikhchandani's company InfoEdge may have brought him fame and wealth today, but that wasn't quite the case when he started it in 1990. He had quit his well-paying job as a brand manager at GlaxoSmithkline because he wanted to be independent and started operations from the servants' quarters at his house. The company did market surveys and feasibility reports but didn't earn enough to be able to pay Bikhchandani. What it did do was create a database of reworded job advertisements in newspapers that changed his fortunes in the mid-90s. In 1996, once the internet took off in India, Bikchandani bought the Naukri.com domain name and uploaded the database. In other words, Bikhchandani did in 1996, what everyone's doing today – aggregation. The idea was to reach out to job seekers and employers in India and it worked. Today it has a net worth of over Rs 700 crores and is known to invest in early-stage companies. Case in point: Zomato. Bikchandani pumped in $ 1 million five years ago, followed it up with five more rounds of funding amounting to Rs 327 crores and today, those investments are worth Rs 2,030 crore. An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, Bikhchandani lives in New Delhi. Follow him on Twitter: @sbikh
Former President, NASSCOM
Kiran Karnik has had such a diverse professional career that it's difficult to box him into a single category. He worked for 20 years at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), launched Discovery Channel and Animal Planet in India and, as president of Nasscom between 2001 and 2008, helped promote India's IT capabilities worldwide. And then there's the consulting assignments he has done for the United Nations, Ford Foundation and the World Health Organisation. But Karnik's toughest assignment came in 2009 when Satyam Technologies's corporate fraud – the biggest in India – stood exposed. The government appointed him as head of a six-member committee to restore the firm's credibility. A self-described "public non-intellectual" and a graduate of the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, Karnik is currently a member of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister. His website is: http://kirankarnik.wordpress.com
Former Chairman, BCG India & Member, Planning Commission
Former Member, Planning Commission of India
Former Chairman, Boston Consulting Group, India
Chancellor, Central University of Himachal Pradesh
Any discussion on policy and the future of India is enriched with Arun Maira’s views, and not just because he was a member of the Planning Commission of India for five years till June 2014. Arun is one of those rare people who have held leadership positions in both, the private as well as the public sector, bringing a unique perspective on how the two can work together to foster growth for India. He has led three rounds of participative and comprehensive scenario building for the future of India: in 1999 (with the Confederation of Indian Industry), 2005 (with the World Economic Forum), and 2011 (with the Planning Commission).
In his career spanning five decades, Arun has led several organisations, including the Boston Consulting Group in India. In the early part of his career, he spent 25 years in the Tata Group at various important positions. He was also a member of the Board of Tata Motors (then called TELCO). After leaving the Tatas, Arun joined Arthur D Little Inc (ADL), the international management consultancy, in the US, where he advised companies across sectors and geographies on their growth strategies and handling transformational change.
Another decade later, Arun was back in India, this time as the Chairman of the Boston Consulting Group, a position he held for eight years till 2008. The other leadership positions he has held include being the chairman of Axis Bank Foundation and Save the Children, India. He was also board member of the India Brand Equity Foundation, the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, and the UN Global Compact, and WWF India.
Recognising his astute understanding of both macro as well as micro policy issues, Arun has been involved in several government committees and organisations, including the National Innovation Council. He has been on the board of several companies as well as educational institutions and has chaired several national committees of the Confederation of Indian Industries.
In 2009, Arun was appointed as a member of the Planning Commission, which is led by the Prime Minister of India. At this minister-level position, he led the development of strategies for the country on issues relating to industrialisation and urbanisation, and drove the formulation of policies and programmes in these areas. He also advised the Commission on its future role.
With his vast experience and expertise, Arun is indeed a thought leader. He is invited to speak at various forums and has written several books that capture his insights.
His most recent book, published in May 2014, is Redesigning the Aeroplane While Flying: Reforming Institutions. His earlier books include Remaking India: One Country, One Destiny;Transforming Capitalism: Improving the World for Everyone, and Shaping the Future: Aspirational Leadership in India and Beyond.
His new book, An Upstart in Government: Journeys of Change and Learning (Rupa), is expected to be released in August. The theme of the book is: the progress of nations and organizations has to be a cooperative endeavour. A good society is one that enables each individual to realize his or her aspirations. Everyone must cooperate to create such a society. The book should be of great interest to leaders in government, in the private sector, and in civil society organizations also. For they must all create better cooperation systems within their enterprises and with each other too.
Harsh Mariwala is the founder of the Ascent Foundation, a non-profit, peer-to-peer platform for entrepreneurs. Its core philosophy is to create sector-specific 'trust groups' of folks who have founded startups and want to scale them up to the next level. The idea is to gain perspectives from fellow entrepreneurs on the hurdles they face while trying to grow their businesses. In October 2014, Ascent had 26 trust groups of 338 entrepreneurs spread across India. By 2022, Ascent aims to increase that number to 10,000 entrepreneurs. Prior to starting Ascent, Mariwala was chairman of Marico, a consumer goods company, best known for brands like Parachute hair oil and Saffola. In 1971, when Mariwala, born into a traditional business family, took over the reins of the company, its revenue was just about $75,000. Over the next four decades, he turned Marico into a formidable, professionally-run multinational company with footprints in South Africa, Vietnam and the Middle East. Today, its revenues are well over $750 million and one out of every three Indians is a Marico consumer.
CEO, Star TV India
Uday Shankar is the chief executive officer of the Star TV India network and is widely credited for building a stellar leadership team at Star India and turning it into a formidable media company with properties across news, entertainment, sports and public service television. Under his stewardship, Star has created such television properties as the Indian soccer and kabaddi leagues, women-led soaps like Diya Aur Baati Hum, wound up Indian television's most iconic show Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and given birth to Satyamev Jayate, a first-of-its-kind public service TV show, hosted by Aamir Khan. Shankar started his career as a political journalist with the Times of India in Patna, moved to Down to Earth magazine in New Delhi, switched to Zee TV, then to Sahara News and finally to Aaj Tak, where he created the "breaking news" phenomena that is, for better or worse, part of the lexicon of Indian TV journalism. Shankar is that rare journalist who has comfortably and successfully transitioned from being an editor to business leader and, in that avatar, has been a vocal supporter of digitising India's television industry. But his career trajectory would've been very different had he not moved out of Patna. Once an IAS aspirant, he junked the idea because he found it "brain-dead" and veered towards journalism. An alumnus of New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, Shankar lives and works in Mumbai.
Chairman and CEO, Pepsico India Region
D Shivakumar is chairman and chief executive officer of PepsiCo India. Prior to this, he was the managing director of Nokia in India, spent 14 years at Hindustan Unilever and three years at Philips. He is also known to play mentor to corporate executives-turned-entrepreneurs and is a regular speaker at industry-level conferences. An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology Chennai and IIM Calcutta, "Shiv" as he is commonly called is a voracious reader and writer who reads at least one business book a week
Chairman, Max Group
Analjit Singh is the founder and chairman of the Max India group that has interests in healthcare, life insurance and health insurance, built on the Rs 561 crore he earned after selling his stake in telecom company Hutchinson Max to Essar to Hong Kong-based Hutchison and the Kotak Mahindra Group in 1998. In a country whose corporate culture prides itself on family-run businesses, Singh is a rarity who wants to keep the interests of his family separate from those of his company. That's probably a lesson he learnt from the messy family split of 1990 in which his father Bhai Mohan Singh, founder of Ranbaxy, divided the family assets amongst his three sons – Parvinder, Analjit and Manjit. This Chinese wall also allows Singh to help his three children set up their own businesses. One of them is Antara, residences for senior citizens in Dehradun, started by his daughter Tara Singh Vachani. Singh, a resident of New Delhi and an alumnus of the Graduate School of Management, Boston University, is one of the founding board members of the Indian School of Business's Mohali campus.