Indias Most Influential CEOs

New Delhi: Who are the most influential leaders of corporate India? Based on their achievements as wealth creators, and their ability to inspire and innovate, NewsMobile has compiled a list of India’s most powerful CEOs:    

  • Mukesh Ambani (Reliance Industries)

Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Limited is the second-largest publicly traded Indian company by market capitalisation. Ambani has had a difficult few years as he has seen his net worth drop from $43 billion to $21 billion in 2013. He still remains as ambitious as ever and revealed his plans to invest $25 billion over the next two years. Things seemed to be finally looking up for RIL when the government finally increased gas prices but this has led to allegations of deliberately suppressed output and hoarded gas as RIL’s conduct has become the subject of a criminal investigation. Despite all these setbacks, he remains India’s most influential CEO.


  • Azim Premji (Wipro)

As Asia’s most generous CEO, Premji has given away over 25% of his wealth to charity. He has guided Wipro through four decades of diversification and growth to make it one of the largest publicly-traded companies in India. Premji’s latest foray is in private equity, where his firm PremjiInvest manages a $1 billion dollar personal portfolio.


  • Laksmi Mittal (ArcelorMittal)

Despite being weighed down by weak demand and burdening debt, ArcelorMittal remains the world’s largest steelmaker. Mittal’s company registered a net loss of $2.5 billion in 2013; this was still an improvement and was brought about by cost cutting measures. Mittal has finally begun actively investing again and has acquired land for a $6.5 billion project in South India. 


  • Ratan Tata (Tata)

The only reason Ratan Tata doesn’t make the top of this list is because he has passed over the day to day running of Tata to Cyrus Mistry. He still, however, remains Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons. A true pioneer in his field, Ratan Tata helped his company become the global brand it is today, acquiring companies like Tetley, Jaguar Land Rover and Corus to turn the Tata Group from an India centric company to a truly international conglomerate.


  • K M Birla (Aditya Birla Group)

Despite India’s slowing economy, the Aditya Birla Group has continued to make big money deals under K M Birla’s leadership. In September 2013, Ultratech, the cement arm of the company, made a $600 million dollar deal to buy a rival unit. That unit is now the largest cement producer in India. The Aditya Birla Group’s revenue has grown from $2 billion to $40 billion since Birla took charge. He has tried to diversify further by getting involved in banking and recently submitted a proposal to RBI for acquiring one of the new bank licenses on offer.


  • Narayana Murthy (Infosys)

There are very few accolades Narayana Murthy has not received in his long, distinguished career. He was called the Father of the Indian IT sector by Time magazine as well as listed among Fortune magazine’s list of the 12 greatest entrepreneurs of our time. Murthy retired from Infosys in 2011 but had to return in 2013 to boost the company’s ailing fortunes. This move proved the importance of Murthy to Infosys’ success as shares have grown by 40% since.


  • Anil Ambani (Reliance Group)

Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group was formed after an acrimonious spilt with his brother, Mukesh Ambani. After 8 years, the two are doing business together as they prepare to roll our 4G services in India. His other interests lie in a range of sectors and recently Reliance Power commissioned 4,000 megawatts at its power project in Madhya Pradesh. Reliance Infrastructure also completed Mumbai’s first metro line. Ambani spearheaded India’s forays in overseas capital markets with IPOs of convertibles and bonds and established his reputation as a financial wizard.


  • Chanda Kochchar (ICICI Bank)

The first woman CEO of ICICI Bank, Chanda Kochchar took over in the middle of the global financial crisis but managed to keep her firm profitable. An ambitious leader, Kochchar plans to make ICICI one of the twenty biggest banks in the world by the next decade. As CEO of India’s largest private bank and second largest lender, she oversees $93 billion in assets spread over 19 countries. Despite India’s economic slowdown, ICICI’s profits were up 25% from 2012 to $1.5 billion.

  • Adi Godrej (Godrej Group)

Adi Godrej is known for modernising his 117 year old family business in to one India’s largest conglomerates. His company operates across diverse sectors, making everything from mosquito repellents and hair dyes to refrigerators. Godrej believes the group’s most successful venture in a decade could be its real estate arm Godrej Properties. Godrej has continued to receive widespread recognition for his work and was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2013.

  • Anand Mahindra (Mahindra & Mahindra Limited)

Anand Mahindra started off his career when he joined Mahindra Ugine Steel Co in 1981. In 1997, he was made Managing Director at the age of 42. Under his leadership, Mahindra has rapidly grown through acquisition and business development. The company now has a range of sectors in its portfolio, ranging from automobiles to financial services. Notable acquisitions include Satyam Computers and Ssangyong Motors. In 2014, Anand Mahindra was included in Fortune Magazine’s list of The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.


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