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2020 Indiaspora Business Leaders List recognizes over 50 executives of Indian heritage leading global corporations

San Francisco, CA | Washington, DC, July 10, 2020: Indiaspora, a nonprofit organization of global Indian diaspora leaders from various backgrounds and professions, released today their inaugural list honoring executives of the Indian diaspora who are leading the largest global corporations in 2020. 

Drawing from the latest editions of Fortune and Forbes U.S. and global lists, the Indiaspora Business Leaders List includes 58 executives serving at the helm of their respective companies as Chief Executive Officer, President, or Chairman of the Board. Under their leadership, these companies collectively employ more than 3.6 million worldwide and account for a combined USD $1 trillion in revenue and $4 trillion in market capitalization. Headquartered across 11 different countries including the U.S., Canada, England, and Singapore, these companies have delivered annualized returns of 23 percent during the tenure of these executives, outperforming the S&P 500 by 10 percent.

“This inaugural list shares so many shining examples of the quintessential immigrant story,” said Indiaspora Board member Rajan Navani, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Jetline Group of Companies. “Hardworking, enterprising, and innovative, these executives have achieved the highest success in their respective fields, often drawing on their Indian heritage to help guide and ground them along the way. No doubt they will inspire generations to come.”

The list includes immigrants from India as well as professionals born in countries such as Uganda, Ethiopia, England, and the U.S. 

“I’m amazed to see how far we’ve come in terms of representation in business,” said Raj Gupta, former CEO of Fortune 300 company Rohm and Haas, and one of the first executives of the Indian diaspora to join the ranks of corporate leadership along with pioneers such as Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo and Dinesh Paliwal of Harman International. “There used to be only a handful of us leading corporations. Now that we are reaching prominence, I am eager to see how the next generation leaves its own legacy.” Mr. Gupta, an Indiaspora member, serves as Chairman of two companies on the Business Leaders List, Aptiv and Avantor.

Agents for Change and Inclusion

“It is gratifying to see the growing impact of individuals from the Indian community on business on a global scale,” said Indiaspora Board Member Arun Kumar, Chairman and CEO at KPMG India, who also served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce in the Obama administration. “I have had the opportunity to work with several of the individuals on our 2020 Business Leaders List in a professional and personal capacity, and can attest to their dynamism as leaders not only of their companies, but also for the larger diaspora community. In addition, many of them bring a remarkable sensitivity to issues relating to social change.”

Many of these diaspora executives have led their companies in advancing social change by addressing racial injustice, climate and sustainability justice, and the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 through policy and financial commitments. For example:

  • Tech industry leader Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet, has announced new goals for racial equity, including improving leadership representation of underrepresented groups at Google, and an “economic opportunity package” for the Black community.
  • Many of the leaders’ companies have created or contributed funds in response to COVID-19, with monetary and humanitarian aid totaling more than $400 million. 
  • More than a dozen leaders have aligned their companies’ business practices to meet United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and are members of the UN Global Compact.

“It’s inspiring to see so many leaders of Indian heritage playing a significant role in business and in society,” said Ajay Banga, President and CEO of Mastercard. “Our culture and our values are a common starting point. But it’s what we do with the opportunities presented to us that make a difference. When we lean into our diverse experiences to deal with challenges like the pandemic or racial injustice, we can have an even greater impact on the lives of those around us.”

The Indiaspora Business Leaders List also calls attention to the presence of a glass ceiling that women, including Indian women, still face. Out of 1,000 companies represented on the Fortune 500 list, only 61 have women CEOs; the Indiaspora List has a marginally higher percentage of women, yet includes only five women out of the 58 leaders.

“It’s an honor to join so many outstanding leaders on this year’s Indiaspora Business Leaders list, each of whom is making a meaningful impact within their industry,” said Reshma Kewalramani, M.D., CEO and President of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. “As a physician and CEO dedicated to creating transformative medicines that improve the lives of people with serious diseases, I believe deeply in the critical role a diverse and inclusive culture plays in being able to achieve that mission at Vertex. We are committed to developing the next generation of leaders from all backgrounds, and I look forward to some of those names showing up on this list and others like it in the years to come.”  

The following lists were used to identify honorees: Fortune 500 (which features 1,000 companies), Forbes Global 2000, Fortune Global 500 and the Forbes Largest Private U.S. Companies.

Indiaspora (www.indiaspora.org) is a nonprofit organization established to transform the success of the Indian diaspora into meaningful impact worldwide. The members form a powerful network of global leaders who serve as a platform to build stronger communities with a culture of giving and inspiring social change.

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Opening a new front in the civil rights campaign in the US, California has filed a case against technology company Cisco alleging discrimination against a Dalit employee. Amid the national protests against racial discrimination, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed the case on Monday in a federal court in the Silicon Valley naming the company and two former managers as defendants seeking to bring caste discrimination under the umbrella of unlawful discrimination banned by civil rights legislation enacted in 1964 that does not specify caste. The landmark federal Civil Rights Law specifies only race, color, religion, sex and national origin. DFEH alleged that “managers at Cisco’s San Jose headquarters campus, which employs a predominantly South Asian workforce, harassed, discriminated, and retaliated against an engineer because he is Dalit Indian.” The court papers seen by IANS said that the Dalit employee’s team was made up entirely of “higher caste” Indians who came to the US as adults and “imported the discriminatory (caste) system’s practices into their team and Cisco’s workplace”. The Dalit employee and the manager who supervised him are both IIT graduates who attended it at the same time, the complaint said, without specifying the institution. In addition to Cisco, court documents list Sundar Iyer, a “distinguished engineer at Cisco,” and Ramana Kompella as defendants in the case. The person allegedly discriminated against is described as a principal engineer but is not named and is shown in court documents as “John Doe,” a pseudonym used in the US legal system to protect identities or when a person’s identity is not known. The complaint said that Iyer told others in the company that the person allegedly discriminated against was a member of the scheduled caste and when he confronted the supervisor and complained to the human resources the supervisor and complained to the human resources department, a series of retaliation occurred. Full report on our website. Link in bio. #race #casteism #discrimination #color #cisco #california #dalitlivesmatter #dalit

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1 comment

TS Darbari July 20, 2020 at 1:56 pm

A good move. Discrimination, in any situation, must not be avoided. In an educated and growing society, such inhuman actions must not take place.- TS Darbari.

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