Music Equal: Brigade of Indian women CEOs lead global companies through pandemic
They deconstruct gendered workspaces and revolutionize existing corporate cultures, making them more inclusive and accessible. Here is a list of those women leaders who are taking the lead.
Shaping a new track
Leena Nair will take the lead at Chanel from January next year after a three-decade career at UK consumer packaged goods giant Unilever PLC. She was reportedly poached by the French luxury brand as it struggled to overcome its pandemic slump.
Nair is a leading luxury fashion outsider, and it has been the subject of numerous media reports. However, she was also the first-time multitasking person in her previous organization. At Unilever, she was âthe first woman, the first Asian and the youngest in historyâ as Director of Human Resources.
She had championed equal opportunity and inclusiveness at Unilever, and at Chanel too, she should work on corporate culture and prioritize other Chanel products besides makeup and watches. Nair is the recipient of the 2021 Great British Business Woman Role Model of the Year award.
Parenting a teenager
Born to Punjabi parents who emigrated to the United States, Anjali Sud was appointed CEO of Vimeo in 2017 and had since then pivoted Vimeo to a SaaS (software as a service) company, so that it could go beyond the ‘plus small competitor of Youtube â. label.
For South, success is not always commercial.
As a 16-year-old company, Vimeo is still in the process of establishing its base and South has done a spectacular job of sustaining it during the pandemic. During the pandemic, in fact, Vimeo’s video consumption increased, “because the company had more than 200 million users worldwide, with 1.6 million paying subscribers, as of March 2021”. But for the South, success is not only commercial. She also works actively to improve the culture of the company.
As the mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old boy, she focused on the Vimeo workspace and made it more kid-friendly so Vimeo staff wouldn’t have to give up. âParenting experienceâ.
Bridging the gap
Sonia Syngal, who grew up in Canada and then moved to the United States, took over the reins of GAP Inc in 2020 after the surprise exit of its then leader, Art Peck. Often described as a “passionate leader” by her colleagues, she did a commendable job behind the wheel, pulling GAP away from a turbulent transition phase after Peck’s exit.
An engineer by profession, she joined GAP in 2004, and has had a notable stint as the leader of her Old Navy unit.
Prior to Gap, Syngal worked at several Fortune 500 product companies, including Sun Microsystems and Ford Co, and held various positions. For example, at Sun Microsoft, she led manufacturing operations and logistics, while at Ford, she was responsible for product design. With such diverse experiences, Syngal steers GAP in a new direction, despite the misfortunes of the pandemic.
Ankiti Bose, CEO of Zilingo and Sonia Syngal, CEO of GAP. Photo courtesy of: Bose and Syngal LinkedIn profiles.
In her late twenties, Ankiti Bose runs one of Southeast Asia’s largest B2B e-commerce companies – Zilingo, which has already raised nearly $ 308 million in funding. Bose, who founded the brand, said it was difficult to run the startup initially because she was a young woman and no one – from factory workers to managers – took her seriously. But she stayed there and things changed eventually.
As of 2017, his start-up had teams in Indonesia, Hong Kong, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia, the United States and India and Bose is still on a growth curve. Her advice to women leaders is simple: don’t hesitate to ask what you’re worth. She thinks the best way for a woman to move forward is to have her voice heard, to make her way in the meetings.
Play the Matchmaker to the Millennials
Hailing from Jamshedpur, Sharmistha ‘Shar’ Dubey is the CEO of Match Group, which owns dating apps like match.com. OkCupid, Tinder and Hinge among others. Therefore, it goes without saying that she has had a significant contribution to the way millennials go out and meet new people these days. Winner of Tech Leader of the Year at Vogue Women of The Year 2021, Dubey’s in-depth knowledge of human behavior, coupled with her technical skills and product creation abilities, has led to the tremendous success of several dating apps.
Dubey took charge of Match Group in early 2020, just weeks after the start of a global pandemic, and it was not easy to manage applications that fundamentally required two people to meet. But, Dubey got through, with innovative video features, and despite some initial hiccups, did pretty well.
Padmasree Warrior, CEO of Fable and Sharmistha Dubey, CEO of Match Group. Photo coutesy: LinkedIn profiles of Warrior and Dubey.
Rules of a Tech Warrior
An Indo-American tech executive, Padmasree Warrior served as CTO of Cisco and Motorola, and was also CEO of a US electric car manufacturing company. However, her most significant job so far has been that of Founder and CEO of Fable – a platform that focuses on mental wellness.
âI started Fable so that we could all fill the micro-moments of our busy lives with stories. Our mission is to deliver the world’s best social experience with exceptional stories in the service of mental well-being,â says Warrior in his introductory biography on the Fable website.
In 2014, she was named one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World in the Forbes list and in 2018, she was also named among the “50 Most Influential Women in Tech in America” ââby Forbes.
Flexing some STEM muscles
Revathi Advaithi is an Indian-American business executive who is currently the CEO of Flex, one of the world’s largest manufacturing companies and the central nerve of the global supply chain. A champion of women in STEM fields, she assumed the role of CEO in 2019 and has since managed the company’s strategic direction, as well as technological innovation.
Revathi Advaithi is a champion of women in STEM fields.
She is also responsible for sustainable manufacturing solutions in various industries and end markets. Prior to Flex, Advaithi was President and COO of Eaton’s electrical business. Advaithi is also a member of the board of directors of Uber and Catalyst.org. She is a member of the Business Roundtable, the MIT CEO Advisory Board, and the Catalyst CEO Champions For Change initiative.