The combined 2018 revenue of the seven companies these Indian American CEOs are heading was more than $360 billion, greater than the GDP of all but 34 countries.
(Editor’s note: This post was updated on June 7, 2019)
Until the 1990s, there were very few Indian Americans in the top echelons of corporate America. The glass ceiling was broken in the mid-1990s, with the rise of executives such as Raj Gupta, Ramani Ayer and Rakesh Gangwal. Gupta served as the Chairman and CEO of Rohm & Haas, which was later acquired by Dow Chemicals, for more than a decade. Ayer served as the CEO and Chairman of The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. from 1997 to 2009. Gangwal was the president and CEO of the US Airways Group from 1998 to 2001.
Then in the 2000s, more Indian Americans would join the rank of the CEOs. In 2001, when PepsiCo named Indra Nooyi as its CEO, she became the first Indian American woman to head a Fortune 100 company. Six years later, Vikram Pandit would start his tenure as CEO at Citigroup. Today, Indian Americans hold top-level positions in US companies across a spectrum of industries.
The following is a list of seven Indian American CEOs who lead US companies that generated at least $7 billion in revenue last year. The first six are Fortune 500 US companies, while the seventh — Harman International Industries — is no longer a Fortune 500 firm, as it became part of Samsung in 2017. However, in 2018, Harman had enough revenue to be part of the Fortune 500 club, if it were an independent company. In 2018, the combined revenue of the companies these CEOs head was nearly $360 billion, greater than the GDP of all but 34 countries.
Company revenue: $136.8 billion (2018)
Number of employees: Nearly 99,000 (2018)
Sundar Pichai took over as the chief executive officer for Google in October 2015, replacing then-CEO and founder Larry Page. The 46-year-old was born in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, but grew up and completed schooling in Ashok Nagar, Chennai. He attended IIT Kharagpur in India, and got his MS from Stanford and MBA from Wharton. Pichai joined the tech giant in 2004, where he led product management for several products, including Google Chrome and Google Drive. In 2014, he was a contender to become CEO of Microsoft, a position that eventually went to the next person on this list.
Company revenue: $110.36 billion (2018)
Number of employees: Nearly 135,000 (2018)
Satya Nadella replaced Steve Ballmer as the CEO of Microsoft in 2014. He served as Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group, prior to becoming CEO. Born in Hyderabad, India, Nadella worked at Sun Microsystems before joining Microsoft in 1992. The 22-year Microsoft veteran received his bachelor’s degree from the Manipal Institute of Technology in India, his MS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Under the leadership of Nadella, Microsoft acquired Mojang, LinkedIn, and Github.
President and CEO, Albertsons
Company revenue: $60.53 billion (2018)
Number of employees: 267,000 (2018)
Having previously served as the CEO of PepsiCo Foods North America, Sankaran became the president and CEO of Albertsons Companies, the largest food and drug retail chain in the United States earlier this year. Sankaran, who now oversees 2269 stores over 34 states, including over 800 Safeway’s, earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and a master’s in industrial engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
President and CEO, Micron Technology
Company revenue: $30.4 billion (2018)
Number of employees: 36,000 (2018)
Sanjay Mehrotra, who grew up in Delhi, took over as the CEO of Micron last year. A 30-year veteran of the semiconductor memory industry, he has more than 70 patents in the field. In 1988, he cofounded SanDisk, which was acquired by Western Digital for $19 billion three years ago. At the time of the sale, Mehrotra was the President and CEO of SanDisk.
Micron, based in Boise, Idaho, which manufactures semiconductor devices such as RAMs (random access memory) and flash drives, is ranked 150 on Fortune’s list of 500 top US companies.
Mehrotra is an alumnus of University of California, Berkley, having earned both his bachelor’s and master’s in electrical engineering and computer sciences. At the moment, he is also the chair of the Semiconductor Industry Association, a trade group.
Ajaypal Singh Banga
President and CEO, MasterCard
Company revenue: $15 billion (2018)
Number of employees: 13,400 (2017)
Ajay Banga became the CEO of MasterCard in 2010, replacing former CEO Robert W. Selander, who had held the title since 1997. Prior to becoming CEO, Banga served as Mastercard’s president and chief operating officer. Born in Maharashtra, India, Banga was awarded the Padma Shri civilian award in 2016. The business executive graduated with a BA in economics from St. Stephen’s College and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management.
Chairman and CEO, Adobe Inc.
Company revenue: $9 billion (2018)
Number of employees: More than 21,000
Shantanu Narayan replaced former Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen in 2007, prior to which he had been serving as the company’s president and COO. Under his leadership the company became a Fortune 400 company in 2018. Narayan was also a member of former US President Barack Obama’s Management Advisory Board. He received his bachelors in electronics and communication engineering from the University College of Engineering, Osmania University, an MBA from UC Berkeley and his master’s in computer science from Bowling Green State University.
President and CEO, Harman International Industries
Company revenue: $7.44 billion (2018)
Number of employees: 26,000 (2016)
Paliwal took over as CEO and president of Harman International Industries in 2007 at a low point in the company’s history. Paliwal turned the struggling business around as under his leadership, the company experienced double digit growth and doubled its share price in one year. In addition to serving as Harman’s CEO and president, the Indian American businessman is a member on the boards of Nestlé, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Raytheon Company. Harman was acquired by Samsung in 2017, with Paliwal still leading the company.
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I took time to read the comments.
Some are well written, a few made me laugh.
However, Intelligent people have worked hard to achieve the positions and they deserve the top positions.
I love intelligent people and encourage people to try.
“ Where there is a will there is a way”
Perkin Elmer’s CEO Prahlad Singh
Hate has no place in this world. The more you hate the less you will succeed.
You can add VMware’s new CEO Raghu Raghuram to the list.
Anyone who is intelligent and highly skilled should be welcomed and appreciated. I do not understand many here debating and boosting about their race,culture or religion who will never make a cut with narrow outlook. Country that has welcomed bright minds all over the world irrespective of culture,creed or religion have always succeeded and remained a super power!
Many White Americans are unhappy that Indians are excelling in US and many other countries. Reason is they have more education on average than average of US population and they have more stable family life and support their children’s education. Their friendships are loyal and they are humble and family oriented. Jay
Smart people will learn and be inspired from successful leadership, irrespective of race, colour or background. If cultural aspects, upbringing and experience are helping, then best develop the attitude to get the most from their presence. In the last x years, except for native Americans, everyone else went there for opportunities to make a difference in the world right? :)
The Indian culture instills in their children the importance of hard work, education, commitment to family and society.
However, within all races, cultures, religions, societies, worlds, Etc… there are good people and bad people.
These CEO’s are human beings who are highly Inteligent and have put that intelligence towards working hard to reach this point in their careers. They are GOOD people!
If anyone feels only certain races should acquire these jobs, then by all means, work hard, be innovative, respectful, and instill some motivation and drive within yourself to
reach this point.
If you like corruption, low quality, harmful cultural practices in workplace or in general, destruction of the world environment, over population and pollution, then you like those kind of CEOs
This India Citizens using stolen SS# fraudulent US citizens are among the many India family clans brought to US since 1924 to overthrow the US government and legitimate US citizens for the Federal Reserve Shareholders employing India citizens at their companies who do no work for the company but work in the illegal mind control headquarters setting up the US mass genocide , infecting food supply with corona parasite, taking out companies left and right, medically killing more than 20 million US residents each year etc. And clearly promoting India Citizen Jezebel Kamala Harris to be US VP and President after they medically kill Biden.
you are the worst type of human being on the planet. people like you will killed by the corona virus because you are too stupid to succeed. Nature will eliminate you and your kind and the world will be a better place. Your racist ideology shows how brainwashed you are and there is nothing that can save you.
I AM PROUD OF INDIAN ENTREPRENEURS WHO BROUGHT INDIA IN THE SKYLINE OF AMERICA
They also brought frauds, scams and corruption. They will definitely eliminate the civilized world. You are running away from India because of all the bad things happening there; ironically, you are trying to convert western world to India. If you like India so much, just stay there. If you hate India, why are you trying to convert rest of the world to India?
Alex; Ever heard of Enron? Bernie Madoff? Lehman Brothers? AIG? Bear Sterns? Arthur Anderson? Yup, all white dudes. I’m proud to see more diversity in the F500 C-suite. Good job India!!
Indians are the only race who can bring down the white people. This is because indians are much better at debates and arguments. There is a common saying that indians can make you think that white is black and vice versa. They can also talk until the dead comes out from 6 feet under. It is also a common saying that indians are snakes. If you haven’t heard, there is also Indian “snake oil” and also Indian “accounts” . If you haven’t worked with them or lived among them, you don’t know what I mean. You white people in America don’t know what you are up against. There are other races who are smart, intelligent but who are not two faced or wouldn’t stab you in the back after using you. Since you guys allow the indians to rule corporate America, you will see the effects after sometime. These indians will bring their whole village over and infest your corporations with more indians who will displace your American jobs. You have been warned.
You are right.Americans are digging their own graves through these wily low life creatures.They already have infested US like rats.Time to exterminate them.
Hindus are the most ancient surviving civilization still thriving whereas many other civilizations have disappeared. The Mughals & Caucasians conquered Indians for 1000 years. They plundered, raped, butchered and tried to brainwash them but fell short. It is the powerful & deep spiritual thoughts that power them as these are the ultimate Truths.
Indians are stealing US technology through RSS Hindutva nepotism. Indians always hire Indians at the expense of other races, religions, and nationalities in the US. Indians form their little enclaves and promote their own selves instead of being part of the US melting pot! I know you won’t publish this critical comment. But, at least you know others in the USA are watching this RSS nepotism.
I AM PROUD OF MY INDIAN ENTREPRENEURS WHO BROUGHT INDIA IN THE SKYLINE OF AMERICA