Business, Headline, Newsmakers

Revathi Advaithi, Bela Bajaria among Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business

Advaithi and Bajaria are the only two Indian Americans on the list of top corporate women leaders

Two Indian American executives, Revathi Advaithi and Bela Bajaria, have made it to Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business list for 2022 headed by CVS Health president and CEO Karen Lynch for the second year running.

The competition to be listed among Fortune’s Most Powerful Women has gotten a little stiffer this year with Fortune deciding to merge its domestic and international lists of top corporate women leaders.

Read: 5 Indian Americans to address Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit (September 28, 2022)

Ranking close behind Lynch, who is leading the highest-ranking Fortune 500 and Global 500 company ever run by a woman, once again are Julie Sweet, chair and CEO of Accenture (No. 2); Jane Fraser, CEO of Citi (No. 3); and Mary Barra, chair and CEO, GM (No. 4).

Advaithi, 54, who took over as the CEO of the $26 billion manufacturing giant Flex in 2019, is ranked 37 on the list.

She recognizes the efforts of 1,70,000 Flex employees as they navigated Covid-19, supply chain shortages and Russia-Ukraine war to deliver 7.9% revenue growth in FY22, Fortune says.

“This is amazing considering the complex industry issues,” says Advaithi. Flex which makes products ranging from facial derma roller to robots for industrial applications, has big plans for India.

India is among the top 10 strategic markets for Flex, says Advaithi. “Many of our customers are interested in a ‘Made in India’ strategy to support their growth markets.”

She has seen a lot of interest from customers seeking to manufacture complex products in industrial, automotive and Cloud Enterprise and Communications segments to gain from Flex’s advanced design and manufacturing capabilities.

Prior to joining Flex, Advaithi held leadership positions at Eaton and Honeywell. She also serves as a director on the boards of Uber and Catalyst.org and is a member of the MIT Presidential CEO Advisory Board.

Bajaria, 51, Head of Global TV, Netflix is ranked 44 on the Fortune list. “This may have been a year of highs and lows for Netflix but Bela Bajaria continues to have a razor-sharp focus on making the ‘best shows,’” says Fortune.

Read: 7 Indian American women among Forbes ‘50 Over 50’ (October 7, 2022)

Bajaria, who was president of Universal Television before this, says she continues to work on local, authentic storytelling.

“Our most popular shows are the ones with authenticity and specificity,” she says. That is why the American streaming major is hiring creative teams locally.

The year gone by was tough but Bajaria oversaw some top-notch programming. Netflix had its biggest TV show ever, ‘Squid Game,’ in 2021. It also became the most Emmy-winning network and Oscar winning movie studio.

But challenges remained. The company had to cut jobs as number of subscribers fell. There was tough competition from players like Disney+, Prime Video and HBO Max.

The Indian market has also been a tough nut to crack. Netflix has about five million subscribers compared to Disney+ Hotstar’s 50 million and Amazon Prime Video’s 20 million. However, Bajaria says the Indian market continues to be exciting with its rich history of storytelling”.

Prior to joining Netflix, Bela Bajaria worked as the president of Universal Television for nearly five years. She was behind such successful shows like “Chicago Fire” and Mindy Kaling’s “The Mindy Project,” the first major show from a South Asian American female creator.

Before that she was senior vice president at CBS, where she worked for 15 years.

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