Leading Edge 2018: live

About The Conference

Outlook Business Leading Edge 2018 is a half a day event conceived for business leaders. Apart from a perspective on the economic environment prevailing in the country today, one can expect to gain from the insights on leadership challenges by some very accomplished global management thinkers and CEOs of some India’s leading companies.


Ajay Piramal

Chairman, Piramal Group & Shriram Group

He is one of India’s leading industrialists, philanthropists and social entrepreneurs and also the chairman of business conglomerate, Piramal Group & Shriram Group, with activities in healthcare, financial services, real estate, information services, glass packaging etc. Apart from India, the group has set-ups in the US, UK, European Union, Japan, Pacific and South Asia. Mr. Piramal has been conferred with an honorary doctorate degree in philosophy education, a B.Sc (Hons) from Bombay University and a master in management studies from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management.

Deep Kalra

Chairman and CEO, MakeMyTrip

He is the founder of India’s leading online travel company. Launched in India in 2005, MakeMyTrip offered the convenience of online transactions coupled with great value prices, thus revolutionising the way Indians research and purchase travel services. Under his stewardship, MakeMyTrip is today one of the largest e-commerce businesses in the country and the largest travel company in India that listed on NASDAQ in August 2010. Prior to his entrepreneurial venture, Mr. Kalra has had corporate stints with GE Capital, AMF Bowling Inc and ABN AMRO Bank. He holds an MBA (PGDM) degree from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi.

Kishore Biyani

CEO, Future Group

Having started his entrepreneurial journey in the 1980s in the fashion and garments sector, in 2001, Mr. Biyani led the creation of Big Bazaar, a uniquely Indian hypermarket network that connects thousands of small and large manufacturers to millions of customers. Big Bazaar today is counted among the most trusted brands in the services sector in India. Since then, a number of retail chains have become part of Future Group. Some of these include, Central, Brand Factory, EasyDay, Nilgiris, Heritage, HyperCity, Aadhaar and HomeTown. These chains connect thousands of small, medium and large manufacturers and entrepreneurs with over a million customers every day in almost every state. Through this period, he has also led the creation of a number of consumer goods brands in the fashion, food and FMCG sectors, that now capture a significant share of sales across the group’s retail chains. The group has invested extensively in manufacturing, sourcing of agricultural produce, logistics networks, food processing facilities and in a large number of supply partners and entrepreneurs.

Subhash Chandra

Chairman, Essel Group and ZEE

He is among the leading lights of the global media and entertainment industry. He is also a Rajya Sabha MP. His leading businesses include television networks and filmed entertainment, cable systems, satellite communications, theme parks, flexible packaging, family entertainment centres and online gaming. He founded Essel Group in 1976 and served as its chief architect. With his pioneering vision and entrepreneurial mindset to achieve growth, he revolutionised the television industry by launching the country's first satellite television channel, Zee TV, in 1992 and later the first private news channel, Zee News. Dr. Chandra made his mark as an influential philanthropist in India. He has set up TALEEM (Transnational Alternate Learning for Emancipation and Empowerment through Multimedia) to provide access to quality education through distance and open learning. He is also the chairman of Ekal Global — a movement to eradicate illiteracy from rural and tribal India.

Sanjay Lalbhai

Chairman and MD, Arvind

He’s the man at the helm of Arvind, one of the largest manufacturers of woven textiles in India, and one of the largest denim fabric manufacturers in the world. He was also responsible for acquiring India’s first denim brand — Flying Machine — in 1981 and for guiding the process of building Arvind’s current impressive apparel portfolio. He serves on the boards of Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone and several premier educational and research institutes. He is the president of Ahmedabad Education Society and Ahmedabad University. He is the chairman of Council of Administration of Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association and a member of the Council of Management of the Physical Research Laboratory. Mr. Lalbhai believes that addressing societal concerns and creating a long-lasting benefit to society is integral to the business strategy and the duty of every business leader.

V Vaidyanathan

Executive chairman, Capital First

He founded Capital First by acquiring an equity stake in an existing NBFC, changing the business model, and then executing a management buyout by securing an equity backing in 2012 from PE Warburg Pincus. He started his career with Citibank India in 1990 and worked there till 2000 in consumer banking. And then he joined ICICI Limited in early 2000 when it was a domestic financial institution (DFI) and the retail businesses he built helped the transition of ICICI from a DFI to a universal bank. He built the retail banking business for ICICI Limited since its inception, and grew ICICI Bank to 1,400 branches in 800 cities, 25 million customers, a vast CASA and retail deposit base and built a retail loan book of over Rs.1.35 trillion ($20 billion) in mortgages, auto loans, commercial vehicles, credit cards and personal loans. He also built the SME business and managed the Rural Banking Business. He was earlier the MD and CEO of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co (2009) and an executive director on the board of ICICI Bank (2006). He was also the chairman of ICICI Home Finance Co (2006), and served on the board of CIBIL- India's first credit bureau (2005), and SMERA- SIDBI's Credit Rating Agency (2005).

Abhay Aima

Country head, global consumer business and private banking, HDFC Bank

He has more than 30 years of experience, 22 years at HDFC Bank and is considered as one of the wizards of Dalal Street. He has a multi-disciplinary profile, where he started off in the National Defence Academy at Khadakwasla, from where he joined the air force. After that he started off in Mumbai selling lamp shades, STD disconnectors and CCTV cameras before he got a break in Citibank. Mr. Aima later became a member of the core group of HDFC Bank. He initially focused on investments and gradually expanded into private banking business and the investment product distribution business where he played a pioneering role in the industry and built a market leadership position for HDFC Bank. He is also a director in HDFC Securities.

Anita George

MD, South Asia, CDPQ

She plays an instrumental role in developing and monitoring CDPQ's investments in South Asian markets, especially in India. She establishes and maintains close relationships with key public and private institutions to support CDPQ's investment teams across all asset classes. Ms. George, who is tasked with finding investment opportunities across all asset classes in the region, served as a senior director of the World Bank Group's energy and extractives practice. She was a director of infrastructure and natural resources in Asia at the International Finance Corporation. She has also served as the India head at Siemens Financial Services. Ms. George holds a Masters in Economics and a MBA in Finance from Boston University and a BA in Economics and Spanish from Smith College, in Massachussetts.

Deepak Iyer

MD, Mondelez India

He has been the MD and director of Mondelez India Foods since August 2016. Prior to that, Mr. Iyer served as the CEO and MD at Bharti AXA General Insurance Company from June 2015 to August 2016. Prior to Bharti Axa, he was the CEO of Wrigley India. Before that, Mr. Iyer worked with American food and beverages company PepsiCo Inc. for about 17 years across different roles and in different markets. He has with him a wide spectrum of experience in sales, marketing and general management functions with leading global companies, in both manufacturing and corporate sectors. He has also worked in the past with Marico Industries, Coats Viyella India and Tata Telecom.

D Shivakumar

Group vice-president, (corporate strategy and business development), Aditya Birla Group

Also known as Shiv, he was the chairman and CEO of PepsiCo India Holdings, a subsidiary of Pepsico Inc, prior to his appointment at the Aditya Birla Group. Mr. Shivakumar also served as the head of business across the Middle-East, African region and India at Nokia Corporation from July 2012 to March 2013 and as its regional senior vice-president for India, Middle East & Africa from April 2012. He served as the MD of Nokia India, vice-president and head of emerging markets - India, Middle East and Africa at Nokia Corporation and served as its head of the India-Middle East-Africa region from October 2011. Mr. Shivakumar is an engineer from IIT-Madras and holds an MBA from IIM-Calcutta.

Harsh Mariwala

Chairman, Marico

Over the past three decades, Mr. Mariwala has transformed a traditional commodity-driven business into a leading consumer products and services company. Marico markets leading brands such as Parachute Advansed, Saffola, Mediker, Revive, Setwet, Livon among others. From a turnover of Rs.50 lakh in 1971, Marico today clocks a turnover of about Rs.5,936 crore (FY17). Today, one out of three Indians is a Marico consumer. It has also established strong consumer franchises in its overseas market. Mr. Mariwala started his career with Bombay Oil Industries in 1971 and in 1975, developed the branding division for this family-run business. The brand name Marico was established in 1990. Mr. Mariwala’s entrepreneurial drive and passion for innovation, enthused him to establish the Marico Innovation Foundation in 2003. Under the stewardship of an eminent board, the foundation acts as a catalyst to fuel innovation in India. He is also the founder of Ascent, a not-for-profit organisation that enables high-potential growth-stage entrepreneurs.

Neelkanth Mishra

MD and India equity strategist, Credit Suisse

He has been an advisor to committees appointed by the government of India—such as the RNR Committee on GST and the FRBM Review Committee—and writes frequently in prominent newspapers on economic issues. Mr. Mishra had earlier worked on metals & mining, pharmaceuticals, Taiwan IC design, semiconductor foundries and Asian tech strategy research, based out of Mumbai, Singapore and Taipei. Prior to joining Credit Suisse, he was a senior technical architect with Infosys Technologies and has also worked with Hindustan Lever. Mr. Mishra is a gold medalist from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, with a degree in computer science and engineering.

Nilesh Shah

MD, Kotak Mahindra Asset Management

He has over 25 years of experience in capital markets and market-related investments, having managed funds across equity, fixed income securities and real estate for local and global investors. In his previous assignments, Mr Shah has held leadership roles with Axis Capital, ICICI Prudential Asset Management, Franklin Templeton and ICICI Securities. He is a gold medalist chartered accountant and a merit ranking cost accountant. His hobbies include reading and educating investors on financial planning. He has co-authored a book on financial planning called A Direct Take.

Rajiv Kaul

CEO, vice-chairman and whole time director, CMS

Mr. Kaul has over 20 years of experience across technology, private equity and cash management industry. Prior to his association with CMS, he was associated with Actis Capital LLP, London as a partner, and with Microsoft Corporation (India) as general manager and MD, India from where he moved to Redmond, USA as senior director of emerging markets including BRIC.
Mr. Kaul holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering specialising in Computer Science from the Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Business Management specialising in Marketing and Finance from XLRI, Jamshedpur.
He is currently a member of RBI’s Committee on Currency Movement, which was constituted post demonetisation to review the movement of fresh currency. In the past, he has been associated with National Association of Software and Service Companies as an elected member to the executive council and was also a member of the National Council of CII from 2003 to 2005. He is also a member of the General Council of Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra and a member of the Management Committee of Confederation of ATM Industry (CATMi).

Rupinder Singh Sodhi

MD, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (Amul)

Amul is India’s largest food products organisation. Mr. Sodhi has obtained his BE (Ag) degree from CTAE, Udaipur, India followed by a stint at the Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA). After his post-graduation from IRMA in 1982, he joined Amul. For more than two decades. He spearheaded Amul’s highly innovative and widely acclaimed marketing campaigns. In 2009, he took over as the MD and since has ensured that Amul’s milk procurement operations extended beyond the state of Gujarat thanks to his initiative to procure milk from farmers of eight other states of India, following the cooperative model.

Seshagiri Rao MVS

Joint MD and group CFO, JSW Steel

He is responsible for overall operations of JSW Steel including strategy formulations related to business development, expansion of existing businesses, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions and cost management. He possesses rich experience spanning over three decades in the steel sector and in the areas of corporate finance and banking. He joined JSW Group in 1997 as chief financial officer and has played an active role in growth strategies of the JSW Group since. Prior to joining JSW Steel, he has worked with various reputed organisations in various capacities. Mr. Rao is a member of the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India and a licentiate member of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India. He is also a certified associate of the Indian Institute of Bankers and a diploma holder in business finance from the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India.

T R Ramachandran

Group country manager, India and South Asia, Visa

He is responsible for the overall management and strategy development and execution across all aspects of Visa’s South Asia business in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan. Mr.Ramachandran is focused on driving the company’s growth and innovation strategy, which includes growing e-commerce and m-commerce payments, growing the acceptance footprint for electronic payments, building out and scaling a payments ecosystem which is secure and reliable, and creating and developing a roadmap towards a less cash society and financial inclusion. Prior to joining Visa in 2015, Mr Ram was the MD & CEO of Aviva Life Insurance in India, and chairman of Aviva Sri Lanka for six years. Before that Ram was with Citibank for close to 20 years, last serving as the country head for retail banking. Mr Ram has an MBA from the Bharatidasan Institute of Management, and is an alumnus of Columbia Business School’s CSEP Advanced Management Program.

Suresh Narayanan

Chairman and MD, Nestle India

He’s been at the helm of the Indian subsidiary of Nestle SA since 2015. Mr. Narayanan served as the chairman and CEO of Nestlé Philippines since April 2015. Prior to that he served as the head of sales at Nestle India, then chairman and CEO of Nestle Egypt and head of Nestle business for the north-east African region in 2010. Mr. Narayanan holds a master's degree in economics from the Delhi School of Economics and a diploma from the IMD program for executive development and has also participated in the Nestle leadership program at the London Business School.

Sumitro Ghosh

CEO, Tata Starbucks

He’s been at the helm of Tata Starbucks since January 1, 2016. Mr. Ghosh is an eight-year Starbucks partner and has 30 years of consumer retail experience. Tata Starbucks is a 50:50 joint venture between Starbucks Coffee company and Tata Global Beverages. A Starbucks veteran, he also served as the vice-president of Starbucks Midwestern US region.

Umang Vohra

MD and global CEO, Cipla

He has been the MD and global CEO at Cipla since Sep 2016, leading a business of $2.4billion with strategic focus on profitable and sustainable growth. He is defining and executing Cipla’s roadmap to maintain the growth momentum in home markets, India & South Africa, and strengthening the presence in North America and key emerging markets within Latin America, Asia, and ANZ. In his previous role at Cipla as a global COO, he revamped Europe operations to improve profitability and as global CFO, he successfully integrated InvaGen & Exelan Pharmaceuticals offering the avenues of growth to North America operations. Prior to Cipla, Umang was the executive vice-president and head of the North America Generics business for Dr Reddy's. He led an integrated team of sales & marketing, supply chain & operations, customer service, project delivery verticals from R&D and corporate functions for North America. Prior to Dr Reddy's, he worked with PepsiCo and Eicher Motors. Mr. Vohra has a MBA in finance and marketing and is an engineer.

Vasanth Kumar

Executive director, Max Fashion India

He is currently spearheading the brand’s aggressive growth plans since its launch in India. An MTech degree from IIT, Madras and a PGDBM from XLRI, Jamshedpur, Kumar has an illustrious marketing career spanning 23 years. He started his career with a sales and marketing stint in a consumer goods company, where he handled various marketing campaigns and products launches. He has also spent a decade with an apparel major. In 2005, he joined as president, Max retail division of Lifestyle International.

Vinayak Bahuguna

CEO & MD, Arcil

He joined Arcil in 2015 and is a seasoned professional with over three decades of experience across the banking sector in Indian and African markets. He captained several functions at globally reputed banks. A chartered accountant by profession, Mr. Bahuguna commenced his career in 1985 in the corporate treasury function of an engineering Company. In 1987, he forayed into banking sector, with then ANZ Grindlays Bank. Post an 11 year stint, Mr. Bahuguna moved to Standard Chartered Bank, where he headed several corporate banking functions in the next 14 years. He resigned from his post as managing director of Alternative Investments – India & Nigeria to satiate his entrepreneurial aspirations. In 2012, he had set up his own financial consultancy firm – Vie Capital, offering boutique solutions in stressed assets and mezzanine financing to mid-tier corporates.

Krishna Udayasankar


A graduate of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore, she holds a PhD in strategic management from the Nanyang Business School, Singapore and has award-winning research papers, many peer-reviewed journal articles and two textbooks: International Business: An Asian Perspective and Global Business Today to her credit. Ms. Udayasankar's bestselling series of mytho-historical novels, The Aryavarta Chronicles have received critical acclaim and have been optioned by Bollywood actor, Ms. Sonam Kapoor. Her most recent novel, Immortal, was also optioned in one of the biggest book-to-movie deals in Bollywood, by Phantom Productions. She is the author of three works — a novel on the founding of Singapore, Objects of Affection; a full-length collection of poetry, an editor of Body Boundaries: The Etiquette Anthology of Women’s Writing. Her next book titled Beast, is slated for a release in summer 2018 from Penguin-Random House.

Eika Banerjee

CEO, Future Learning

In her current role, Eika leads three Future Learning business verticals – corporate capability, skilling, employability & livelihoods, and education. She works closely with the state and central government – for various skill development initiatives. Her vigour and vision has secured a position for Future Learning as one of Modern India’s leading Corporate Skilling Company. Previously, Eika founded FinSutra, a boutique leadership development firm involved in talent development and executive coaching interventions based on ancient wisdom, history, mythology and literature. She has over 17 years of core operating experience in various leadership roles. She has contributed in key positions at Standard Chartered Bank, ABM Amro, Citi & Kotak, both in India & Singapore. Eika is an MBA from FMS-Delhi, an IAC certified Executive Coach & holds Post Graduate certifications in Comparative Mythology from the Department of Sanskrit, Mumbai University. She is the founder and curator of Aakhyaan, India’s First Annual Mythology festival, a knowledge platform that she has conceptualized with department of Sanskrit, University of Mumbai – to integrate the corporate world, academia and popular culture.


1.00 pm to 2.00 pm

Registration and lunch

2.00 pm to 2.15 pm

Welcome address

2.15 pm to 3.05 pm

Panel discussion: Growth In An Election Year

3.05 pm to 3.50 pm

CEO panel discussion: Dealing With Disruption

3.50 pm to 4.05 pm

Coffee break

4.05 pm to 4.35 pm

Q&A with Marshall Goldsmith

4.35 pm to 5.25 pm

CEO panel discussion: Navigating Dilemmas

5.25 pm to 5.35 pm

Coffee break

5.25 pm to 6.25 pm

Entrepreneur panel discussion: Against All Odds

6.25 pm to 7.00 pm

Corporate Karma

7.00 pm to 9.30 pm

Charity Walk, cocktails and dinner