Amid the gloom about raging coronavirus pandemic came heartening news this month: Roshni Nadar Malhotra, India’s wealthiest woman, took over as the chairperson of HCL Technologies, becoming the first Indian woman to head a listed IT company.
Ms Malhotra has featured in ‘The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’ list compiled and released by Forbes for three years in a row, beginning 2017. According to IIFL Wealth Hurun India, with a net worth of Rs 31,400 crore, the 38-year-old was also the richest woman in India in 2019.
She took over the reins of the Noida-based IT company from her father, Shiv Nadar, on July 17. Roshni Nadar Malhotra has been the executive director and CEO of HCL Corporation, vice chairperson of the board of HCL Technologies, and trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation. At HCL Corporation, the holding company of HCL Technologies and HCL Infosystems, she has been responsible for providing strategic guidance to the organisation.
Born and raised in New Delhi, Roshni studied in Vasant Valley School, and graduated from Northwestern University in Illinois, USA. She tried her hand at news production at London-based Sky News and Us-based CNN but her father suggested she did MBA even if she wanted to be the next media mogul.
She went for a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Kellogg School of Management in Northwestern University and returned to India to become HCL Corp’s CEO at 28 years. As a young woman on the board, she made a rule that after every quarterly board meeting, the board will disintegrate in groups of two and each group will have lunch with at least 10 women in senior leadership roles. This, she said, was to give women a sense of parity in the company.
Ms Malhotra was inducted as an additional director on the board of India’s third largest software exporter in 2013; the first two are TCS and Infosys. This was four years after her appointment on the board of HCL Corp.
The appointment of non-executive director Roshni Nadar Malhotra to the new role takes effect immediately. Shiv Nadar will continue to be HCL Tech’s managing director, with the designation as the chief strategy officer.
Ms Malhotra is passionate about wildlife and conservation and set up The Habitats Trust in 2018. The trust aims at protecting the country’s natural habitats and indigenous species, with the core mission of creating and conserving sustainable ecosystems. She is also an alumnus of the World Economic Forum’s Forum of Young Global Leaders initiative, which is a community of the world’s most outstanding, next-generation leaders.
As a trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation, she is also responsible for the foundation being at top in the country with a charity of Rs 826 crore in 2019, according to Hurun India philanthropy list.
She is the first woman to head a listed IT company, and only second to be chairperson of the country’s top 50 companies; HDFC’s Shyamala Gopinath is the first.