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15 Top Indian CEOs Overseas

Posted on October 12, 2021
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15 top indian ceos abroad

Over the past few decades, major global companies have Indian-origin CEOs at the helm. This is no surprise considering the fact that they are masters at their craft and scale up in their careers giving them the cutting edge over global counterparts.

Here is a list of 15 CEOs heading top global companies.

  1. Shantanu Narayen, CEO Adobe Inc.

Born in Hyderabad, Shantanu Narayen has been the CEO and Chairman of Adobe Inc. since 2007. He did his bachelor’s degree from Osmania University, Hyderabad, and later did his MBA from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining Adobe, he was working with Apple.

He was named as the world’s best CEO by Barron’s magazine, in the year 2016 and 2017. He is also the board member of Pfizer and vice-chairperson of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum.

  1. Ajaypal Singh Banga – CEO, Mastercard

Currently the executive chairman of the board of directors at Mastercard, Ajay Banga moved onto this role after 11 years as the chief executive officer and president.

Ajay Banga is the co-founder of The Cyber Readiness Institute, a trustee of the United States Council for International Business, and chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce.

In 2016, Ajay Banga was awarded the Padma Shri Award by the Government of India.

Prior to his association with Mastercard, Ajay Banga served as the Chief Executive Officer of Citigroup Asia Pacific.

Ajay Banga began his career with Nestle, India. Later he spent two years with PepsiCo.

After completing schooling at the Hyderabad Public School in Begumpet, Ajay Banga completed his graduation with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from St Stephen’s College, Delhi. Banga later did his Post Graduate Program (PGP) in Management from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

  1. Jayshree Ullal, CEO, Arista Networks

Jayshree Ullal is an American billionaire businesswoman who is the CEO of Arista Networks since 2008.

She graduated from San Francisco State University, and did her master’s degree in Engineering Management from Santa Clara University.

Forbes magazine named her as one of the top five most influential people in the networking industry in 2010.

  1. Rajeev Suri – former CEO, Nokia Inc.

Born on October 10, 1967, Rajeev Suri is a Singaporean business executive. Suri has been the CEO of Inmarsat, a leading global mobile satellite communications provider, since February 2021.

Previously, Suri was the President and CEO at Nokia from April 2014 to August 2020.

Suri was born in New Delhi, India, and later raised in Kuwait. As of now, Rajeev Suri is based between London and Singapore.

  1. George Kurian – CEO, NetApp

After working in diverse roles in companies such as Akamai Technologies and Oracle, George Kurian became the Chairman and CEO of NetApp, a data management company, in June 2015. Earlier, Kurian had served as the executive vice president of product operations at NetApp for around two years.

Originally from Kottayam district, Kerala, Kurian initially pursued engineering at IIT-Madras, leaving six months later to join Princeton University. Kurian holds a bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University.

Kurian holds an MBA from Stanford University.

  1. Nikesh Arora – CEO, Palo Alto Networks

An Indian-American business executive, Nikesh Arora has been the CEO of Palo Alto Networks since June 2018. Palo Alto Networks is a global cybersecurity leader delivering innovation to help secure digital transformation.

Previously, Arora held a senior executive position at Google, resigning in 2014.

Originally from Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, Nikesh Arora comes from an air-force background. Nikesh is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, BHU.

He holds an MBA from Northeastern University and a degree from Boston College.

  1. Dinesh C. Paliwal – former CEO, Harman International

Currently serving on Harman’s board of directors, Dinesh C. Paliwal was the president and CEO of Harman International from 2007 to 2020. Harman International designs and engineers connected solutions as well as products for enterprises, consumers, and automakers worldwide.

Paliwal is a Partner with KKR & Co. Inc., a global investment firm.

After completing his bachelor’s in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, Paliwal did his MBA in Finance from Miami University, Ohio.

The prominent awards Paliwal has won include the Metro New York Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young in 2010 and the Businessman of the Year by Fortune Magazine in 2014.

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  1. Sanjay Mehrotra – CEO, Micron Technology

Sanjay Mehrotra has more than 30 years of experience in the semi-conductor industry.

He co-founded SanDisk in 1988 and was the President & CEO of the company till 2016. Mehrotra became the CEO of Micron Technology in 2017.

Mehrotra is an alumni of BITS Pilani and has a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences from UC Berkeley.

Sanjay Mehrotra was born in Kanpur, India.

  1. Laxman Narasimhan – CEO, Reckitt Benckiser

Laxman Narasimhan became the CEO of Reckitt Benckiser in 2019.

An engineering graduate from Pune, he did his MA from The Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from The Wharton School.

  1. Arvind Krishna – CEO, IBM Group

The Chairman and CEO of IBM, Arvind Krishna has been with IBM for over two decades and was appointed its CEO in 2020.

An engineering graduate from IIT, Kanpur, he completed his PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  1. Sandeep Mathrani – CEO, WeWork

A veteran of the real estate sector, Sandeep Mathrani took over as the CEO of WeWork in February 2020.

Mathrani graduated from the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, obtaining his bachelor’s degree in engineering and management science. In 1986, he obtained his master’s degree in engineering from the same college.

  1. Sanjay Kumar Jha – former CEO, Qualcomm

Sanjay Kumar Jha is well-known in the semiconductor foundry business. He was the Chief Operating Officer of Qualcomm and later became the Chief Executive Officer of Motorola Mobility.

Jha has a PhD in electronics engineering from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland.  He was also the CEO of Global Foundries, one of the world’s largest semiconductor foundries headquartered in Santa Clara, California, United States.

Sanjay Kumar Jha is originally from Bihar, India.

  1. Indra Nooyi – former CEO, PepsiCo

Indra Nooyi was one of the most powerful businesswomen in the world when she was the CEO of PepsiCo. Before this, she held senior positions at the Boston Consulting Group, Motorola, and Johnson and Johnson. Currently, Nooyi is on the board of Amazon, International Cricket Council (ICC), and Schlumberger.

Nooyi did her Bachelor’s degree in science from the University of Madras and later did a Post Graduate Program Diploma from Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. In 1978, Nooyi joined the Yale School of Management and moved to the USA where she did her master’s degree in Public and Private Management in 1980.

Nooyi joined PepsiCo in 1994, and became its CEO in 2006.

  1. Vasant Narasimhan – CEO, Novartis

Vasant Narasimhan, an Indian-American physician, became the CEO of Novartis in 2018. Narasimhan completed a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from University of Chicago, an M.D. from Harvard Medical School and a master’s degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He has previously been the Global Head of Biopharmaceuticals & Oncology Injectables at Sandoz International.

  1. Ivan Menezes – CEO, Diageo

Ivan Menezes is the CEO of Diageo, a British multinational alcoholic beverages company, since 2013.  Menezes did his graduation from the University of Delhi, and later did his management course in Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, and the Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Menezes joined Diageo in 1997.

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