Welcome to a celebration of innovation and resilience! In this exclusive list, we showcase 50 Indian entrepreneurs who are redefining success and propelling the nation forward in 2023. From dynamic startups to seasoned leaders, these visionaries have made an indelible mark on their industries. Join us as we explore the diverse stories of these trailblazers, each contributing uniquely to India’s entrepreneurial landscape. This compilation is not about ranks; it’s a tribute to the collective spirit of innovation that drives progress across the business spectrum.
Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet Inc. and Google, rose through the ranks, spearheading innovation with products like Google Chrome, ChromeOS, Gmail, and Google Maps. His journey from materials engineer to a tech visionary led him to oversee significant milestones like the open-sourcing of VP8 and introducing WebM format in 2010. Pichai’s leadership prowess was recognized when he became Google’s CEO in 2015, marking the inception of Alphabet Inc. His impact extends globally, earning him accolades such as Time’s list of the 100 most influential people and the prestigious Padma Bhushan award in 2022 from the Government of India.
Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, stands as a prominent Indian-American business executive, taking the reins in 2014 after succeeding Steve Ballmer. His transformative leadership has earned him notable recognition, including being named Financial Times Person of the Year and Fortune magazine’s Businessperson of the Year in 2019. Nadella’s significant contributions were acknowledged by the Government of India, honoring him with the prestigious Padma Bhushan award in 2022.
Arvind Krishna, IBM’s Chairman and CEO, initiated his journey at IBM’s Research Center in 1990, rising to Senior Vice President in 2015. Notably, he led IBM’s pivotal acquisition of Red Hat, marking a significant milestone in the company’s history. Krishna assumed the CEO role in 2020 and elevated to Chairman in 2021, steering IBM into the era of cloud computing and cognitive software. His leadership continues to reshape IBM’s trajectory in the tech industry.
Shantanu Narayen, the CEO of Adobe Inc. since 2007, holds a prestigious track record. His leadership earned him notable recognition including Fortune’s “Businessperson of the Year” (#12), “Global Indian of the Year” by The Economic Times, and the esteemed Padma Shri award from India in 2019. Narayen’s achievements extend beyond business, with an honorary doctorate from Bowling Green State University affirming his impact in both the corporate world and academia.
Sridhar Vembu, the brain behind Zoho Corporation, stands as a beacon in India’s entrepreneurial sphere. Forbes ranks him among the country’s top 55 wealthiest individuals, boasting a net worth of $3.75 billion. His accolades are as robust as his business empire—from the prestigious Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” to the esteemed Padma Shri in 2021. Notably, he was appointed to India’s National Security Advisory Board, a testament to his multifaceted influence and prowess beyond the business realm.
Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo, stands as a paradigm of leadership, consistently among the world’s most influential women. Recognized by Forbes, Fortune, and Institutional Investor, she’s also known for her board roles at Amazon and the International Cricket Council. Her accolades span from Fortune’s CEO of the Year to being part of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, showcasing her enduring impact on global business and society.
Laxman Narasimhan, the CEO of Starbucks, brought his experience from PepsiCo and Reckitt to lead the coffee giant. He took the helm in April 2023 after an interim stint, diving into the role after six months of hands-on experience as a barista to understand the company from the ground up. Narasimhan’s transition to CEO followed Howard Schultz’s interim leadership after Kevin Johnson’s resignation in March 2022, marking an exciting chapter in Starbucks’ trajectory under his seasoned guidance.
Ritesh Agarwal, the founder and CEO of OYO Rooms, emerged from humble beginnings in Odisha, India. After launching “Oravel Stays” in 2011, he transitioned it into OYO Rooms, securing recognition in Forbes 30 under 30 for Asia. Despite a devaluation impacting his billionaire status, Agarwal’s strategic acumen bolstered OYO, securing massive investments and even earning him the title of the youngest Shark featured in Shark Tank India in 2023.
Bhavish Aggarwal, the visionary force steering India’s tech evolution, stands at the helm of Ola Cabs and Ola Electric. Not just an entrepreneur, but a trailblazer acclaimed in Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2018. His accolades, including the Richest of the Year title at the ET Awards in 2017, mirror his indomitable spirit in shaping the country’s mobility landscape.
Meet Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the visionary behind India’s tech revolution. Founding One97 Communications in ’97 and later launching Paytm in 2010, he’s become a multimillionaire business icon. From Forbes’ Youngest Indian Billionaire to Time’s 100 most influential, his accolades, including ET Entrepreneur of the Year and AIMA’s Entrepreneur of the Year, reflect a trailblazing journey shaping India’s digital future.
Deepinder Goyal, the mastermind behind Zomato, began with a simple idea in 2010—restaurant reviews. Fast forward, it’s evolved into an emblem of India’s food scene across 1,000+ cities. Zomato’s journey wasn’t just about dining; it’s a tale of relentless execution, innovative products, and marketing that transcends into memes, shaping how we savor and experience food culture today.
Ravi Kumar S, leading Cognizant since January 2023, brings diverse expertise from Infosys, Oracle, and Sapient, showcasing prowess in digital transformation and tech services. His roles at Infosys, notably as President, underscore his deep knowledge across industries. Leveraging experience in digital transformation and cloud services, Kumar steers Cognizant’s growth while actively contributing to TransUnion’s board and engaging with global business forums like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and New York Academy of Sciences.
Natarajan Chandrasekaran, the business luminary steering the Tata Group as its chairman, began his illustrious journey at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) before rising to its CEO position in 2009. Notably, he became the first non-Parsi professional to helm the Tata Group, a testament to his leadership prowess. His accolades span continents, from India’s Padma Bhushan to France’s Légion d’Honneur, recognizing his excellence in trade and industry. Chandrasekaran’s influence extends beyond India’s borders, leading business agendas at global summits and being ranked among India’s most powerful figures by India Today. His legacy as a visionary leader in trade, industry, and technology continues to inspire.
Byju Raveendran’s entrepreneurial journey has been nothing short of meteoric. As the co-founder of Byju’s, alongside his wife Divya Gokulnath, he’s reshaped the educational landscape. Their combined net worth of $3.4 billion, listed by Forbes, speaks volumes about their success. His achievements, ranging from being a finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year to clinching the prestigious Forbes India Leadership Award, cement his status as a transformative leader in both business and education.
George Varghese, a seasoned professional with over two decades of expertise, serves as the Chief Executive Officer & Wholetime Director, wielding his skills in Product Marketing, Business Strategy, and New Business Development. His journey spans prestigious roles at renowned organizations like The Indian Express, Hughes Telecom, Reliance Communications, and KEC International Ltd. Returning to The Indian Express in 2013 as CEO, George Varghese brings a wealth of experience. Beyond the boardroom, he finds solace in sports, particularly cricket and football, showcasing his enthusiasm beyond the corporate realm.
Shradha Sharma, the visionary behind YourStory, embarked on a journey in 2008 to unearth the untold tales of Indian entrepreneurship. With a passion for authentic narratives, she’s led the platform to showcase over 40,000 stories, valuing scars and failures over conventional success. Leveraging her media experience from CNBC and Times of India, Shradha crafts YourStory to make a tangible difference, emphasizing the essence of real and impactful storytelling in shaping India’s entrepreneurial landscape.
Rajiv Bajaj, CEO of Bajaj Auto and Chairman of Bajaj Capital Ltd., is a financial stalwart known for introducing the Certified Financial Planner designation to India. With 26+ years’ experience spanning investment banking and insurance, he expanded Bajaj Capital from 20 to 200 offices. His leadership led to national accolades like The Economic Times Best BFSI Brands and CNBC TV18 UTI-MF’s Best Financial Advisor. An MBA from the University of Geneva and a dedication to spreading financial literacy through media and speaking engagements define his multifaceted approach. Beyond finance, he finds passion in golf, yoga, fitness, and meditation.
Dinesh Agarwal, the entrepreneurial force behind IndiaMART, revolutionized the country’s B2B landscape. Renowned for his innovation, he’s earned titles like CNBC’s “Young Turk” and The Economic Times’ “Market Maker,” highlighting his influential role in shaping India’s business sphere. His visionary leadership has garnered widespread acclaim from media houses and industry associations, marking his significant contribution to India’s business ecosystem.
Sanjay Mehrotra, CEO of Micron Technology, boasts an illustrious career as a co-founder of SanDisk, steering the company as president and CEO until its acquisition in 2016. His remarkable leadership has garnered accolades, including the IEEE Reynold B. Johnson Data Storage Device Technology Award and distinctions from esteemed organizations like the American Red Cross Silicon Valley and the University of California. Honored with the Malaysian Order of Loyal Defender of the State and induction into the National Academy of Engineering in 2022, Mehrotra’s contributions continue to shape the tech landscape.
Kishore Biyani, the visionary force behind Future Group, reshaped India’s retail landscape with brands like Pantaloon Retail and Big Bazaar. Forbes recognized his impact, attributing a net worth of US$1.78 billion in 2019. Beyond business, his co-authored book, “It Happened in India,” chronicling his retail journey, became a bestseller, selling over 100,000 copies by 2007, solidifying his influence in the business world.
Mohit Joshi, the Chief Executive Officer designate of Tech Mahindra, brings a wealth of global experience from his extensive journey across Asia, America, and Europe. With a focus on fostering innovation and nurturing talent, Joshi is committed to steering Tech Mahindra’s legacy forward. His leadership philosophy centers on driving measurable impact, championing an environment that encourages unconventional thinking, and empowering individuals to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the tech landscape.
Gopal Vittal, the Indian business luminary, steers Bharti Airtel, a multinational telecom giant spanning 20 countries. His dynamic journey includes a strategic return to Bharti Airtel in 2012, managing international business strategy before assuming the role of CEO for Airtel India in 2013. His expertise underscores Airtel’s evolution and dominance in the telecommunications realm, showcasing his pivotal role in shaping its trajectory.
Arundhati Bhattacharya, the CEO of Salesforce India, paved a remarkable journey in finance before steering Salesforce’s India division. Her groundbreaking tenure as the first woman Chair of State Bank of India reshaped the global financial landscape, securing recognition among Forbes’ most powerful women worldwide. Notably, she received the prestigious “Sera Bangali” – Serar Sera Award in 2015 from Anandabazar Patrika, underscoring her influence and impact within the community and beyond.
Falguni Nayar, the force behind Nykaa, reshaped India’s beauty market, propelling it to a 1500+ brand empire with 68 stores and Rs. 1200 crores revenue by FY19. Her journey from Kotak Mahindra Bank to Nykaa’s founding reflects her visionary leadership. Accolades like the Economic Times Startup Award’s ‘Woman Ahead’ and Ernst & Young’s ‘Entrepreneur of The Year 2019’ underline her pivotal role in transforming beauty retail while being recognized among Forbes Asia’s Power Businesswomen.
Salil Parekh, at the helm of Infosys as CEO and Managing Director, took charge in January 2018, succeeding U B Pravin Rao. Prior to his leadership role, Parekh’s tenure included serving as a member of the group executive board and deputy CEO. His responsibilities encompassed crucial sectors like Application Services and Cloud Infrastructure Services, contributing significantly to Infosys’ operational landscape.
Sanjiv Puri, Chairman and Managing Director of ITC Limited, envisions digital innovation and sustainability as the defining trends of the future. His leadership emphasizes agile innovation, nurturing talent, and embracing future technologies. Committed to ITC’s Sustainability 2.0 vision and rural initiatives, Sanjiv drives impactful change, serving as Chairman of the CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development and a global co-Chair at WBCSD’s Business Council for Tackling Inequality. Beyond business, he finds joy in reading, yoga, and mentoring young talent.
Amitabh Chaudhry, the MD & CEO at Axis Bank Ltd, boasts an impressive three-decade career journey across banking, insurance, and IT sectors. Renowned for his leadership acumen, he steered HDFC Standard Life to become India’s most profitable life insurance company, orchestrating a successful IPO in 2017 during his nine-year tenure. His strategic prowess further shines through his role in building Infosys BPO from its inception into a profitable global entity. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Electronics and Electrical Engineering from BITS Pilani and a Management Diploma from IIM Ahmedabad, Amitabh is a trailblazer in the realm of finance and technology.
Rajesh Subramaniam, the CEO and President of FedEx Corporation, boasts a remarkable trajectory within the company. His journey started in 1991 as an associate marketing analyst, culminating in his appointment as the COO in 2019. Subramaniam’s elevation to CEO and President in June 2022, succeeding FedEx founder Fred Smith, marks a pivotal moment in the company’s leadership. Beyond FedEx, his influence extends to various boards including FIRST, US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, and the US-China Business Council, underscoring his commitment to global business dynamics.
Nitin Rakesh, the CEO and Director of Mphasis, boasts a stellar career marked by leadership roles in Syntel, Motilal Oswal Asset Management, and State Street Syntel Services. His accolades include several Stevie Awards, notably for tech innovation, executive excellence, and a renowned business book, “Transformation in Times of Crisis.” Rakesh has been recognized as one of the ‘2018 Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business’ by the Asian American Business Development Center (AABDC), highlighting his impactful contributions across industries and his prowess as a tech innovator and transformational leader.
Vijayakumar, known as CVK or Vijay, steers HCLTech, a global tech giant innovating in digitalization, IoT, cloud, cybersecurity, and AI. As the CEO & Managing Director, his strategic foresight led HCLTech to become an industry leader, earning him the ‘Best CEO of the Year, 2020’ by Business Today. Vijay’s roots in HCLTech trace back to pioneering India’s first automated trading network and driving the company’s exponential growth in infrastructure services. He’s a champion of sustainable business practices, reflected in HCL Tech’s top ESG rankings and recognition as ‘Corporate Citizen of the Year’ by The Economic Times.
Karan Gautam Adani, CEO of Adani Ports & SEZ Limited, spearheads an organizational transformation, aiming to enhance the company’s integrated logistics. He’s focused on elevating ports into pivotal economic hubs and is determined to position India as a global leader in commerce and finance. In 2014, he received The Economic Times Award on behalf of Adani Ports & SEZ Limited in the Emerging Company category, marking his dedication to shaping India’s economic landscape.
Punit Renjen, now Global CEO Emeritus at Deloitte, leaves behind a legacy of leadership and innovation. Renjen’s pivotal role in guiding Deloitte’s expansion and impact globally during his CEO tenure remains a testament to his strategic vision. Despite his transition to CEO Emeritus, Renjen’s influence continues to resonate within Deloitte and the broader business community, reflecting his enduring commitment to progress and excellence.
Siddhartha Lal leads Eicher Motors Ltd., a big company in India. He once ran Royal Enfield motorcycles and VE Commercial Vehicles, making them better known. He studied cars and trucks in England. He cares a lot about making city travel better for everyone’s health and safety. He talks with smart people worldwide to change how we move around in cities for the better.
Sashidhar Jagdishan is the top leader at HDFC Bank in India, having worked there for 24 years. He took over from a long-serving CEO, Aditya Puri, showing his deep understanding of the bank. In 2023, he became the highest-paid bank CEO in India, earning recognition for his work. Starting in finance, he’s climbed the ladder, becoming the bank’s CFO and then taking on broader responsibilities, shaping the bank’s strategies for growth and stability. Before HDFC, he spent time at Deutsche Bank in Mumbai.
Rajeev Misra, SoftBank Vision Fund’s CEO, spearheads Masayoshi Son’s bold investment vision. His Wall Street expertise from Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank, revamping credit trading, shaped his role. At UBS, as the Global Head, he reinvigorated post-crisis markets. Joining SoftBank in 2014, he innovated finance, earning the Fund’s leadership in 2016. He’s a driving force in charting transformative tech investments for the future.
K. Krithivasan is at the helm of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a global IT powerhouse. Under his leadership, TCS soared to $27.9 billion in revenues and spans over 50 countries. Having spent over 30 years at TCS, his expertise in the Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance sector helped shape the company’s strong customer relations and global presence. Apart from his tech prowess, Krithi enjoys diving into books and keeping fit.
Ashish Hemrajani, the brain behind Bigtree Entertainment and Bookmyshow.com, sparked a digital revolution in entertainment ticketing in 1999. His strategic move to introduce online-ticketing in India gained attention, leading to a significant investment by Chase Capital Partners JP Morgan. With a remarkable 90% market share today, Ashish’s innovative approach reshaped the industry. Beyond business, he’s a sailing enthusiast and began his career at J. Walter Thompson (JWT) before diving into the entrepreneurial realm, armed with an MBA from Mumbai University.
Ashok Vaswani steps into the role of MD and CEO at Kotak Mahindra Bank, bringing a rich history from prominent financial institutions like Citigroup and Barclays. His tenure at Barclays, including the CEO position and roles in various key business segments, underscores his expertise in the financial realm. Armed with a diverse educational background and experience, Vaswani looks to chart Kotak Mahindra Bank’s course into the future.
Sekharipuram Narayanan Subrahmanyan, the Chairman & Managing Director of Larsen & Toubro, assumed leadership in 2017, taking the company to new heights. He also holds significant roles in various L&T subsidiaries and is a prominent figure in national and international safety councils. Recognized for his exceptional leadership, he has received numerous accolades, including the Best CEO in Infrastructure Sector by Fortune India, Power 100 List by Construction Week, and the National Safety Council chairmanship. His commitment to industry, governance, and societal responsibilities earned him the prestigious IIM-JRD Tata Award and several other accolades over the years.
Girish Mathrubootham’s journey from a chance comment to the founding of Freshworks showcases his entrepreneurial spirit. From a single product, Freshdesk, his vision has grown into a global force with a suite of solutions benefitting thousands of customers. Beyond business, his commitment to nurturing startups and supporting India’s SaaS industry reflects his dedication to innovation. Mathrubootham’s influence extends to grassroots initiatives, evident in FC Madras, shaping young talent and fostering community through football in Chennai, India.
Sandeep Bakhshi, a seasoned Indian banker, assumed the role of MD & CEO at ICICI Bank in 2018, following a longstanding career within the ICICI Group. His leadership extends to previous roles at ICICI Prudential Life Insurance and ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company. Known for his extensive experience and success, he was reported among the highest-paid CEOs in Indian banking in 2019, illustrating his influential role in the sector’s landscape.
Suresh Sambandam, Kissflow’s Founder & CEO, steers one of India’s top SaaS companies, aiding 10,000+ global clients. Beyond business success, he’s a tech enthusiast, boasting three US patents and featuring in four published books. His approach fosters a family-like atmosphere among his team, valuing their roles beyond mere profit. Passionate about mentorship, he co-founded SaaSBoomi, a leading SaaS community, and champions Dream Tamilnadu, striving to elevate Tamil Nadu’s economy and inspire youth toward entrepreneurship.
Saugata Gupta, MD & CEO of Marico Limited, drives the FMCG giant’s global growth and sustainability. Joining Marico in 2004, his leadership steered market capitalization over USD 8 billion. Under his guidance, Marico expanded across 25 countries, emphasizing sustainability and governance, earning accolades like India’s Top 10 for corporate governance and #6 in sustainable companies. His contributions earned recognition, ranking among India’s Top 100 CEOs and as a Forbes India Leadership Awards winner. Beyond Marico, he serves on Ashok Leyland’s board and is associated with Delhivery. A chemical engineering graduate from IIT Kharagpur and an alumnus of IIM Bangalore, Saugata’s impact extends beyond the corporate realm.
Rohit Jawa, CEO of Hindustan Unilever Limited and President of Unilever, South Asia, spearheads business transformations across regions like China and the Philippines. His digital strategies and market premiumization led China to become a key global market for Unilever. With a strong focus on integrating traditional markets with futuristic tech, he advocates for sustainable development, contributing to initiatives driving India’s progress towards UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Ganesh Moorthy’s career journey in tech spans over two decades, evolving from Intel to his current role as President and CEO at Microchip Technology Inc. His leadership at Microchip since 2001 and board membership underscore his strategic influence, complemented by a multidisciplinary educational background in electrical engineering, physics, and an MBA in marketing. His involvement with Rogers Corp.’s board reflects Moorthy’s broader industry impact and connections.
C K Kumaravel, the CEO and co-founder of Naturals, reshaped the salon industry’s perception from a taboo to a lifestyle trend, starting a transformative journey in 2000 with his wife, K Veena. Inspired by his mother’s strength, he envisions empowering women and aims to eradicate the concept of ‘housewives’ in India. With a mission to make Naturals the world’s top salon chain, Kumaravel aims to foster 1000 women entrepreneurs, establish 3000 salons, and create 50,000 jobs globally by 2025.
Vivek Sankaran’s journey through the food and retail landscape underscores his commitment to driving innovation. From steering PepsiCo Foods North America to his current role as CEO at Albertsons Companies, his focus on digital transformation has been paramount. Sankaran’s leadership revolves around empowering associates to make a real impact, fostering connections between customers and communities, and charting new directions in the ever-evolving retail sector.
Ritu Kapur, an influential media entrepreneur, spearheads Quintillion Media and co-owns BloombergQuint. A trailblazer, she co-founded The Quint and was pivotal in Network18’s inception. Holding positions at Reuters Institute of Journalism, Oxford University, and the World Editors Forum, she’s a key advisory board member at the British Council. Recognized by Fortune, she ranked 49th among India’s Most Powerful Women in 2018. Her dynamic leadership continues to shape the media landscape, with a global impact.
Nivruti Rai, a global leader, brings over two decades of technical expertise across the US and India. Leading Intel India, she’s a VP at Intel Foundry Services, emphasizing tech innovation and global team empowerment. Rai champions diversity and inclusion in tech, boasting specialties in silicon design, machine learning, and developing global tech ecosystems. Her accolades include the prestigious Nari Shakti Puraskar, India’s highest honor for women, for her exceptional contributions.
Rajesh Magow, Co-Founder & Group CEO of MakeMyTrip Limited, spearheads India’s leading travel brands. He’s a digital evangelist supporting young Indian tech ventures and harnessing India’s digital potential. With a keen eye on tech and tourism, he shapes MakeMyTrip’s success by leveraging investments, fostering mergers, and strengthening market leadership. Magow’s pivotal role steered MakeMyTrip’s transition into a publicly listed NASDAQ company, marking a significant milestone in India’s online travel landscape.