2021: A Changing Year For Global Indian-Origin Leaders
Updated: December 25, 2021 14:38 IST
Looking back at 2021, Indian-origin leaders have fast risen to prominence this year, as global industries ranging from tech to fashion have increasingly put Indian talent into positions of power. Whether it's the social media giant Twitter, luxury fashion brand Chanel or the International Monetary Fund, the new Indian-origin leadership of these global powerhouses add to a long list of impressive Indian CEOs from Google's Sundar Pichai to Microsoft's Satya Nadella to Pepsico's Indra Nooyi. At the same time, some Indian-origin leaders have decided to put their long tenures to rest, deciding to step down from the roles that have put them in the limelight.
Parag Agrawal, Twitter's new Chief Executive Officer, was promoted in November 2021 from his previous role as the social media giant's Chief Technical Officer. He replaced co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey, who chose Mr Agrawal as his successor once he decided to step down.
Gita Gopinath, the first-ever woman Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), was promoted this year to the number two leadership position of the entire organisation: the First Deputy Managing Director. Dr Gopinath will report to the IMF Chief, also a woman, making them a historic duo within the international financial institution. She will start her new position in January 2022.
Arvind Krishna, the CEO of IBM since April 2020, kicked off the year by taking up an addition position as the Chairman of the IBM Board of Directors. He succeeded IBM Executive Chairman Virginia M. Rometty, and started the position in January 2021, after over 30 years at the company.
Leena Nair, the first female and youngest-ever Chief Human Resources Officer at Unilever, stepped down from her role in December 2021 to join French luxury fashion house Chanel as their Global CEO. An alum of Xavier School of Management, Ms Nair will start her new position at Chanel in January 2022.
Gautam Raghavan -- Indian-born, Seattle-raised, and an alum of Standford University -- was promoted by US President Joe Biden to the Director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel (PPO) in December 2021. Raghavan previously served as deputy assistant to the President and deputy director of the PPO.
Amrapali "Ami" Gan, the new CEO of uncensored content creation platform OnlyFans, was appointed as founding CEO Tim Stokely's successor in December 2021. Ms Gan was promoted from her previous role as the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer of the 'adult' platform -- a company now valued at over a billion dollars.
Ajay Banga, Executive Chairman of the Mastercard Board of Directors, will step down from his role at the end of 2021 and instead join global growth equity investor General Atlantic as their Vice Chairman. Prior to his role as Mastercard's Executive Chairman, Ajay Banga led an illustrious career at the financial services giant, serving as their President and CEO for 11 years.
Narandran 'Jody' Kollapen, previously a judge of the high court in South Africa, was appointed to South Africa's highest judicial bench, the Constitutional Court, by President Cyril Ramaphosa in December 2021. After an illustrious career in the legal system spanning decades, the Indian-origin Justice will begin his new position in January 2022.