Indiaspora, a nonprofit organization of global Indian diaspora leaders from various backgrounds and professions, released 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 US and global lists, the Indiaspora Business Leaders List includes more than 50 executives who are serving at the helm of their respective company in the role of Chief Executive Officer, President, or Chairman of the Board.
The list includes immigrants from India as well as professionals born in countries such as Uganda, Ethiopia, England, and the US. The companies that the executives lead are headquartered in ten different countries, including the US, Canada, England, and Singapore.
"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," added Rajan
Companies on the Indiaspora Business Leaders List collectively employ more than 3.6 million worldwide and account for a combined USD 1 trillion in revenue and USD 4 trillion in market capitalization.
The companies' collective shares also outperformed the stock market, averaging 21 percent returns during the tenures of the leaders on the list, compared to the S & P 500, which offered 9 percent returns during the same time frame.
"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," added Arun.
The 2020 Indiaspora Business Leaders List represents 56 executives and 57 companies, as Raj Gupta, an Indiaspora member, serves as Chairman of two companies on the list, Aptiv, and Avantor.
"I'm amazed to see how far we've come in terms of representation in business. There used to be only a handful of us leading corporations," 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.
"Now that we are reaching prominence, I am eager to see how the next generation leaves its own legacy," added Raj.
Several executives on the list 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.
Tech industry leader Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet, for example, 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.
Ivan Menezes, CEO of British multinational beverage alcohol company Diageo, also led his company in creating a USD 20 million social justice fund in America.
Several leaders' companies have created or contributed to funds in response to COVID-19. In addition, Sunny Verghese's Singapore-based agribusiness and supply chain company Olam International donated COVID-19 testing kits to the government of Ghana.
Francis deSouza, head of gene analysis company Illumina, is developing a test for the novel coronavirus using sequencing technology.
"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 (any chance we can get a bit more color here?). But it's what we do with the opportunities presented to us that make a difference. And, 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," added Ajay.
The Indiaspora Business Leaders List also calls attention to the presence of a glass ceiling in which 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 only accounts for five women out of more than 50 leaders.
For more information about the Indiaspora Business Leaders List, including information for each of the honorees, actions that the executives and their companies are undertaking in response to COVID-19, the current racial justice movement, and climate and sustainability needs, please visit here: https://lists.indiaspora.org/businessleaders/2020
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 US Companies.
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