Forbes power list: 8 Indian women make the grade, spotlight on Neeta Ambani


Nita Ambani

Celebrating the emergence of women in the business world in India, the fifth annual Forbes 50 Power Businesswomen List has featured eight Indians, with Nita Ambani, wife of billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani, getting the coveted top slot. 

The spotlight is clearly on Nita Ambani, Director of Reliance Industries (RIL), a surprise debut appearance in this power list, with Forbes showering praise on her for her formidable business skills. “In a country where billionaire wives tend to remain in the shadow of their husbands, Nita’s rising profile in the Reliance empire is unusual and earns her a debut spot on our Power Businesswomen ranking this year,” said Forbes.

“As Reliance’s non-executive director, Nita has no formal operational role in the conglomerate that her husband runs as chairman and managing director. But it’s no secret that ‘Bhabhi’ — Hindi for brother’s wife — as she is called by insiders, is a power near the throne.”

Other Indian women who have been featured in the list are: Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairman & Managing Director – State Bank of India (2); Ambiga Dhiraj, CEO – Mu Sigma (14); Dipali Goenka, CEO – Welspun India Ltd. (16); Vinita Gupta, CEO – Lupin Limited (18); Chanda Kocchar, CEO – ICICI Bank (22); Vandana Luthra, Founder – VLCC (26); and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman & Managing Direciroe- Biocon Limited (28).

Chanda, who has been featured in the list for the fifth time, has been recently in the news for launching iWork@Home scheme, which allows the women employees of the company to work from home for a period of 1 year and executives to their kids under the age of 3 on business trips at the expense of bank.

These women represent diverse business fields ranging from banking, bio-tech, beauty & wellness to data analytics, textiles and pharma.