Looking Back: Indian Americans making business bloom



By Arun Kumar

There billionaires richer than Trump; Super seven lead money spinners.

Indian Americans spread their wings in corporate America with three of seven billionaires getting richer than President Donald Trump and seven others running top companies making more money than all but 34 nations.

Three ceiling crashers from the community made it to the coveted Forbes list of America’s 80 Richest Self-Made Women of 2019 with the likes of Sheryl Sandberg, Oprah Winfrey, Madonna, Beyonce, and Serena Williams.

Thanks to Trump’s tough immigration stance, four percent fewer Indian students came to the US, but their total number grew by around three per cent to 202,014, according to the 2019 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange (IIE).

And America turned out to be the biggest beneficiary of the economic impact by Indian students contributing over $8.25 billion to the US economy and supporting 92,000 jobs, according to a study by Netherlands-based StudyPortals.

A record seven Indian American billionaires led by Rakesh Gangwal, founder of India-based IndiGo, figured in the 2019 Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans, up from five last year.

Ranked at 207, 225 and 261 respectively Gangwal ($3.8 billion), ZScaler founder Jay Chaudhry ($3.6 billion) and Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur Romesh T. Wadhwani ($3.3 billion), are richer than Trump ranked 275 with a net worth of $3.1 billion.

Seven companies helmed by Indian American CEOs collectively earned more than $360 billion in 2018, greater than the GDP of all but 34 countries.

Of the super seven Indians, Sundar Pichai took over search engine giant Google ($136.8 billion) in 2015 four years before his December elevation as CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet.

Pichai was conferred the Global Leadership Award at the India Ideas Summit and 44th Annual Meeting of the US-India Business Council (USIBC) in June.

Satya Nadella who became CEO of Microsoft ($110.36 billion) in 2014 was ranked sixth on 2019 Forbes list of Innovative Leaders and 40th on the 2018 list of Powerful People.

Just next on the Innovative Leaders list was Osmania University alumnus Shantanu Narayan, who has been running Adobe Inc ($9 billion) since 2007.

India -born Ajaypal Singh Banga leading MasterCard ($15 billion) since 2010 was named the world’s top ethnic minority executive in “EMpower Ethnic Minority Role Model” list celebrating business leaders breaking down barriers at work.

Indian Institute of Technology Madras alumnus Vivek Sankaran took over Albertsons ($60.53 billion), the largest US food and drug retail chain in 2019,  a year after Sanjay Mehrotra became President and CEO of Micron Technology ($30.4 billion).

Dinesh Paliwal is credited with turning around a struggling Harman International Industries ($7.44 billion) after taking over in 2007. Acquired by Samsung in 2017, Paliwal still leads the audio and infotainment systems major.

Three from the community on  Forbes Richest Self-Made Women list were Jayshree Ullal, President and CEO of computer networking firm Arista Networks, Neerja Sethi, co-founder of  IT consulting and outsourcing firm Syntel, and Neha Narkhede, co-founder of streaming data company Confluent.

Ullal, who has been on the Forbes billionaires club for several years, with a net worth of $1.4 billion, was ranked 18th on the list.

Architect Chitwan Saluja, a platform technology manager at Jacobs Engineering Group Inc, was selected as one of the 2019 “Outstanding Women” by the New York City-based Women Builders Council. She also received the 2019 “Consulting-Specifying Engineer 40 Under 40” award.

Indian entertainment giant Shemaroo entered the US market with a video streaming service called ShemarooMe bringing Bollywood to regional, devotional, and children’s programs for the Indian American audience.

Since the 17-year-long ban on Indian mango was lifted in 2007, the demand for famed desi varieties of ‘aam’ ranging from Alphonso to Dasheri to Totapuri has been on the rise.

As the mango season kicked off in  2019, at least ten vendors from Mangozz to Mangowale shipped fleshiest and juiciest Indian mangoes to one’s doorstep on demand across America.

And whether imported from India or grown at farms in Florida, Hawaii and Southern California, they sold out like well ‘aams.’

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.