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  • S. Mitra Kalita

9 reasons the Indian CEO keeps coming to the rescue


IBM tapped Arvind Krishna as its next CEO last week. And this week WeWork confirmed it hired Sandeep Mathrani as its new chief executive.

They join a growing number of global CEOs of Indian origin, according to social media, news reports and online searching (incidentally, Google is run by an Indian).

Here's who I came up with:

  • Shantanu Narayen, Adobe

  • Sundar Pichai, Alphabet, the parent company of Google

  • Satya Narayana Nadella, Microsoft

  • Rajeev Suri, Nokia

  • Punit Renjen, Deloitte

  • Vasant "Vas" Narasimhan, Novartis

  • Ajaypal "Ajay" Singh Banga, Mastercard

  • Ivan Manuel Menezes, Diageo

  • Niraj S. Shah, Wayfair

  • Sanjay Mehrotra, Micron

  • George Kurian, NetApp

  • Nikesh Arora, Palo Alto Networks

  • Dinesh C. Paliwal, Harman International Industries

A disclaimer that this is hardly complete or exhaustive. Some are the children of Indian immigrants but I include them because (another disclaimer) I am, too, and can attest to inheriting habits and experiences from my parents' generation.

To be sure, there is a risk of reading into one group's success as a case of Indian exceptionalism, which I truly do not believe. Rather, a series of external factors have contributed to the rise of the Indian CEO, which says more about the state of corporate America, a globalized workplace, technological disruption and the leaders who might prevail.

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