As heads of Microsoft, MasterCard & Google, Nadella, Ajaypal Singh Banga & Pichai are easily the most influential Indian business leaders in the word. Future CEO candidates might want to look for a tough assignment in order to break through. Americans are having a tough time dealing with global diversity, Herman adds, but just look at who was running the Tarp financial-rescue fund–Neel Kashkari–an Indian-American who is now joining bond giant Pimco as a managing director.
Indira Nooyi – PepsiCo
Nooyi, who joined PepsiCo in 1994 from ABB, became the chief executive in October 2006. Under her leadership the company divested its restaurants to the YUM! Brands chain and acquired Tropicana and Quaker Oats. Prior to ABB Nooyi was at Motorola and the Boston Consulting Group. Nooyi, currently the chairman of the U.S.-India Business Council, is on the board of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. She started her career in India.
Dinesh Paliwal – Harman International
Paliwal joined Harman, a sound-systems company in Stamford, Conn., as chief executive in 2007. Prior to that he spent 22 years at ABB Group and set up its operations in China and north Asia. Paliwal, a native of the city of the Taj Mahal, got his M.A. in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology. He left India in 1981.
Vikram Pandit – Citigroup
Pandit, the embattled CEO of Citigroup, is the other most prominent native Indian in the corner office. Prior to joining the ailing bank he was president of Morgan Stanley’s investment banking, fixed income and capital markets businesses, and cofounded and was chairman of a hedge fund, Old Lane Partners. He’s on the board of Columbia University and Columbia Business School.
Francisco D’Souza – Cognizant Technology Solutions
Kenya-born D’Souza heads Cognizant Technology Solutions, which outsources IT services for its Western clients. D’Souza, 40, joined the company in 1994 when it was founded and within three years had gone up the ranks to become director of North American operations. Earlier he spent four years at various divisions of Dun & Bradstreet, developing business in Germany, the U.S. and India. He is a trustee of Carnegie Mellon University.
Shantanu Narayen – Adobe Systems
Narayen, with the recent $1.9 billion purchase of Omniture, is guiding Adobe in the hot field of measuring the value of online experiences, content and applications. Previously, he co-led the $3.4 billion acquisition of Macromedia. Narayen joined Adobe in 1998 after stints at Silicon Graphics and Apple Computer. He cofounded Pictra, an early pioneer of digital-photo-sharing over the Internet.
Jai P. Nagarkatti – Sigma-Aldrich
Nagarkatti is a Sigma-Aldrich veteran. He joined the St. Louis company in 1976 as a development chemist, and after heading the company’s scientific research business was appointed COO, in August 2004.
Abhijit Talwalkar – LSI
Talwalkar was appointed chief executive in May 2005. Prior to joining LSI of Milpitas, Calif. he was at Intels digital enterprise group. He joined Intel in 1993 after stints at Sequent Computer Systems (now part of IBM), Bipolar Integrated Technology Inc. and Lattice Semiconductor Inc.