The world of business is filled with exceptional leaders who have led their organizations to unprecedented heights. These CEOs have managed to take their companies to new heights, and they have been able to do so because of their skills, their knowledge, and their incredible journeys. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the most inspiring CEOs and learn about their journeys, their achievements, and the interesting facts that make them so unique.
- Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft
Satya Nadella was born in Hyderabad, India in 1967. His father was an Indian Administrative Service officer, and his mother was a Sanskrit scholar. Nadella attended the Manipal Institute of Technology in India, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. He later moved to the United States to pursue a Master’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Nadella joined Microsoft in 1992 as a member of the Windows Developer Relations team. Over the years, he held a variety of leadership roles within the company, including Senior Vice President of Research and Development for the Online Services Division, Vice President of the Business Division, and Executive Vice President of the Cloud and Enterprise group.
In 2014, Nadella was named CEO of Microsoft, succeeding Steve Ballmer. Since taking over, he has led the company through a period of significant growth, focusing on cloud computing and artificial intelligence. Under his leadership, Microsoft has become the world’s most valuable company, with a market capitalization of $1.9 trillion.
Interesting fact: Nadella is an avid reader and has said that reading poetry helps him to think more creatively. He has also written a book called “Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone”.
2. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet
Sundar Pichai was born in Chennai, India in 1972. His father was an electrical engineer, and his mother was a stenographer. Pichai attended the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering. He later moved to the United States to pursue a Master’s degree in Material Sciences and Engineering at Stanford University, followed by an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Pichai joined Google in 2004 and quickly became a key player in the company’s development of the Chrome browser and the Android operating system. In 2015, he was named CEO of Google, which later became Alphabet, Inc. Under his leadership, Alphabet has continued to innovate and expand its reach into new markets, including healthcare and autonomous vehicles. The company currently has a market capitalization of $1.2 trillion.
Interesting fact: Pichai is a big cricket fan and played the sport competitively during his college years. He has also been known to participate in Google’s weekly company soccer games.
3. Vasant Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis
Vasant Narasimhan was born in the United States, but he spent his early years in India. His family moved to Maryland when he was a teenager, and he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Chicago. He then attended medical school at Harvard, where he earned his MD, and later earned a PhD in chemical and biomedical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
After completing his education, Narasimhan worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he specialized in healthcare and technology. In 2005, he joined Novartis, where he worked in a variety of roles before becoming CEO in 2018.
Since becoming CEO, Narasimhan has focused on innovation and digital transformation. He has overseen the development of new therapies and digital health initiatives, and has worked to streamline the company’s operations and improve efficiency. Under his leadership, Novartis has continued to grow and expand its reach around the world.
- Narasimhan is a trained classical pianist and was once considering a career as a professional musician.
- In 2019, he was named to Fortune’s list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.
- He is an advocate for global health initiatives and has worked to increase access to healthcare in low-income countries.
4. Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe
Shantanu Narayen was born and raised in India, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering from Osmania University in Hyderabad. He then moved to the United States, where he earned a master’s degree in computer science from Bowling Green State University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.
Narayen began his career at Apple, where he worked as a product manager and later as the director of desktop and collaboration products. He then joined Silicon Graphics, where he worked in a variety of roles before joining Adobe in 1998.
At Adobe, Narayen has played a key role in the company’s evolution from a software company focused on desktop publishing to a cloud-based digital experience platform. He has overseen the development of new products and services, including the company’s Creative Cloud and Marketing Cloud platforms.
- Narayen was named to Forbes’ list of the World’s Most Powerful People in 2020.
- He is a trustee of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and a member of the Board of Directors of Pfizer.
- He was once a competitive runner and has completed several marathons.
5. Arvind Krishnan – CEO of IBM
Arvind Krishnan is the current CEO of IBM, one of the largest technology companies in the world with a market value of $122 billion. Krishnan was born in India and earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Madras. He later moved to the US to pursue his master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Krishnan joined IBM in 1993 as a researcher in the company’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center. Over the years, he held various leadership positions in the company, including Senior Vice President and Director of Research, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, and General Manager of IBM’s Systems and Technology Group. In 2020, Krishnan was appointed CEO of IBM, succeeding Ginni Rometty.
Under Krishnan’s leadership, IBM has been focusing on the cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) markets, investing heavily in research and development in these areas. IBM’s cloud computing division, IBM Cloud, has been growing rapidly, with revenues increasing by 20% in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year. Krishnan has also been advocating for the responsible use of AI, calling for ethical guidelines and regulations to be put in place to ensure that AI is used for the benefit of society.
Arvind Krishna, CEO of IBM, holds several patents in the field of cloud computing and has authored more than 20 technical papers. He joined IBM in 1990 as a researcher, and over the years, he has held various leadership positions in the company. He was instrumental in the acquisition of Red Hat, which positioned IBM as a leader in the hybrid cloud market. In addition to his role at IBM, he serves on the board of directors for several organizations, including the New York Academy of Sciences and the Partnership for New York City.
6. Lakshman Narasimhan – CEO of Starbucks
Lakshman Narasimhan is the current CEO of Starbucks, one of the world’s largest coffeehouse chains with a market value of $118 billion. Narasimhan was born in India and grew up in Mumbai. He earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering in Pune, India, before moving to the US to pursue his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Narasimhan has over 25 years of experience in the consumer goods industry. Before joining Starbucks, he was the CEO of Reckitt Benckiser, a British multinational consumer goods company. He also worked at PepsiCo for several years, where he held various leadership positions, including CEO of PepsiCo Latin America and President of PepsiCo’s global snacks division.
Since joining Starbucks in 2019, Narasimhan has been focused on expanding the company’s digital capabilities and accelerating its growth in China, which is a key market for Starbucks. Under his leadership, Starbucks has been investing in its mobile ordering and payment system, as well as its loyalty program, which has been driving customer engagement and sales. Narasimhan has also been a strong advocate for sustainability and social responsibility, setting ambitious goals for Starbucks to become more environmentally friendly and socially responsible, such as reducing carbon emissions, increasing diversity and inclusion, and sourcing ethically produced coffee.
Lakshman Narasimhan, CEO of Starbucks, was born in India and raised in Australia. He holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago and has worked for several major consumer goods companies, including PepsiCo and Reckitt Benckiser.
7. Reshma Kewalramani, CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Vertex Pharmaceuticals is a global biopharmaceutical company that focuses on discovering, developing, and commercializing innovative medicines for serious diseases. Reshma Kewalramani has been the CEO of Vertex since February 2020, making her the first woman to lead a major biotech firm in the U.S.
Kewalramani was born in India and raised in the United States. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School. Kewalramani completed her residency in internal medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and her fellowship in endocrinology at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Before joining Vertex, Kewalramani spent more than 20 years at Amgen, one of the world’s largest biotech companies. During her tenure at Amgen, Kewalramani held various leadership positions, including Senior Vice President of Global Clinical Development and Medical Affairs. She also oversaw the development of several successful drugs, including Repatha, a cholesterol-lowering medication.
Reshma Kewalramani, the CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, is the first woman to lead a major biotech company. She holds a medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine and a Master’s in Public Health from Harvard School of Public Health. Prior to her role at Vertex, Kewalramani held leadership positions at Amgen and GlaxoSmithKline.
8. Sanjay Mehrotra, CEO of Micron Technology
Micron Technology is a global leader in the semiconductor industry. Mehrotra joined Micron in 2017 after a successful career at SanDisk, a company he co-founded in 1988.
Mehrotra was born in India and moved to the United States to attend graduate school. He earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
During his tenure at SanDisk, Mehrotra oversaw the development of many groundbreaking technologies, including flash memory cards and solid-state drives. Under his leadership, SanDisk became one of the world’s largest manufacturers of flash memory storage solutions.
In addition to his work at Micron, Mehrotra serves on the board of directors for several organizations, including the Semiconductor Industry Association and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
Sanjay Mehrotra, the CEO of Micron Technology, co-founded SanDisk in 1988, which grew to become a leading provider of flash memory storage solutions. He served as CEO of SanDisk from 2011 until it was acquired by Western Digital Corporation in 2016. Mehrotra was inducted into the US Semiconductor Industry Hall of Fame in 2019 for his contributions to the industry.
9. Anirudh Devgan – CEO of Cadence
Anirudh Devgan is a seasoned tech executive who has spent over 25 years in the semiconductor and electronic design automation (EDA) industry. Before joining Cadence, Devgan worked at Magma Design Automation, IBM, and Motorola. He holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.
Devgan joined Cadence in 2012 and has since led the company through a period of significant growth and innovation. Under his leadership, Cadence has expanded its product portfolio, increased its customer base, and made several strategic acquisitions. Today, Cadence is a global leader in EDA, providing software, hardware, and IP to help customers design the next generation of electronic devices.
An interesting fact about Devgan is that he is an accomplished musician. He plays the tabla, a percussion instrument from India, and has performed in several concerts around the world. He also enjoys hiking and spending time with his family.
Anirudh Devgan, the CEO of Cadence Design Systems, holds a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He has been with Cadence for over 15 years, serving in various leadership roles including Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of the Digital & Signoff Group. Devgan has also published numerous research papers and is an IEEE Fellow.
10. Nikesh Arora – CEO of Palo Alto Networks
Nikesh Arora is a tech industry veteran who has held leadership roles at Google, SoftBank, and Deutsche Telekom. He holds an MBA from Northeastern University and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Varanasi.
Arora joined Palo Alto Networks in 2018 and has since led the company through a period of significant growth and transformation. Under his leadership, Palo Alto Networks has expanded its product portfolio, acquired several companies, and launched several new initiatives, including its Cortex XDR platform, which provides advanced threat detection and response capabilities.
An interesting fact about Arora is that he was once a professional squash player. He represented India at the Asian Games and was ranked among the top 10 players in the country. He also enjoys playing golf and is a passionate supporter of various charitable causes.
Nikesh Arora, the CEO of Palo Alto Networks, was previously the President and COO of SoftBank Group Corp, where he oversaw the company’s global operations and investments. Prior to SoftBank, Arora held senior positions at Google, including Chief Business Officer and President of Global Sales Operations and Business Development. He holds an MBA from Northeastern University and a degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Varanasi.
11. Rangarajan Raghuram, CEO of VMWare
Rangarajan Raghuram, also known as “Raghu,” was born in Chennai, India, in 1963. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India, and a PhD in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin. After completing his doctoral degree, Raghuram joined Netscape Communications, where he worked on the development of the first commercial web browser, Netscape Navigator.
Raghuram then joined VMware in 2003 as a product manager and rose through the ranks, serving as the company’s executive vice president of cloud infrastructure and management before being named CEO in June 2021. Under his leadership, VMware has become a leader in virtualization technology, providing cloud computing and software solutions to a wide range of customers worldwide.
Interesting facts about Rangarajan Raghuram:
- Raghuram is a big fan of Indian classical music and plays the tabla, a percussion instrument commonly used in Indian classical music.
- He is also an avid runner and has completed multiple marathons, including the Boston Marathon.
- In 2020, he was named to the board of directors for Adobe Systems, a leading provider of software solutions for creative professionals.
12. Surendralal Karsanbhai, CEO of Emerson
Surendralal Karsanbhai, also known as “Karsan,” was born in Gujarat, India, in 1955. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Gujarat and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. Karsanbhai then joined Emerson in 1981 as an engineer in the company’s compressor division, working his way up to become CEO in 2015.
Under his leadership, Emerson has become a global leader in manufacturing and technology, providing innovative solutions to customers in industries such as energy, healthcare, and transportation.
Interesting facts about Surendralal Karsanbhai:
- Karsanbhai’s father was a farmer, and Karsanbhai himself worked on the family farm as a child, helping to plant and harvest crops.
- He is a big fan of cricket and played the sport in college.
- Karsanbhai is also passionate about education and serves on the board of directors for several educational institutions, including the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar and the University of Michigan Engineering Advisory Council.
13. Ganesh Moorthy, CEO of Microchip Technology
Moorthy was born in India and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Bangalore University before moving to the United States in the late 1980s to pursue graduate studies. He received a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Houston and an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.
Moorthy began his career at Intel, where he held various engineering and management roles before joining Microchip in 1989 as a design engineer. He rose through the ranks to become the company’s CEO in 2018. Under his leadership, Microchip has grown significantly, with revenues of $5.4 billion in fiscal 2021, up from $3.2 billion in fiscal 2016.
Ganesh Moorthy, CEO of Microchip Technology, is known for his disciplined leadership style, which he learned from his time in the Indian Army’s engineering corps. He served as a lieutenant in the army before moving to the United States for his graduate studies.
14. Jayshree Ullal, CEO of Arista Networks
Ullal was born in London and raised in India, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi. She later moved to the United States to pursue graduate studies, earning a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Ullal began her career at Hewlett-Packard, where she worked for 15 years in various engineering and management roles. She then joined Cisco Systems, where she served as Senior Vice President of the Data Center, Switching, and Services Business. In 2008, Ullal became CEO of Arista Networks, which was founded by former Cisco colleagues. Under her leadership, Arista has become a major player in the cloud networking market, with revenues of $2.7 billion in 2020, up from $2.4 billion in 2019.
Jayshree Ullal, CEO of Arista Networks, was the first woman to lead a networking company when she became CEO of Arista in 2008. She has been named one of Forbes’ “Most Powerful Women in Business” multiple times and was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 2021.
15. Sumit Roy, CEO of Realty Income
Roy was born in India and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur. He later moved to the United States to pursue graduate studies, earning a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Roy began his career at General Motors, where he worked in various engineering and management roles before joining Procter & Gamble. He then moved into the real estate industry, working for several REITs before joining Realty Income in 2010. Under his leadership, Realty Income has grown significantly, with a market capitalization of over $41 billion as of March 2023.
Sumit Roy, CEO of Realty Income, is a big believer in the power of diversification. Under his leadership, Realty Income has expanded its portfolio to include a wide range of retail and commercial properties across the United States, reducing the company’s exposure to any one industry or tenant. Roy has stated that diversification is key to maintaining stable and predictable cash flows for Realty Income and its shareholders.
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Posted on March 14, 2023