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SBI’s Bhattacharya, ICICI’s Chanda Kochhar in Fortune list of powerful businesswomen

13 September, 2016

India’s women have arrived in the world of global business. At least that’s what Fortune magazine would like us to believe.

Three top Indian women executives—State Bank of India’s Arundhati Bhattacharya, ICICI Bank’s Chanda Kochhar and Axis Bank’s Shikha Sharma—figure in the list of 50 of the most powerful women outside the US.

In fact, Bhattacharya is ranked second, next only to Ana Botin who heads Banco Santander, the euro zone’s largest bank by market value. Kochhar comes in at the sixth spot while Sharma is ranked 19th on the list.

Fortune said that, although Bhattacharya did not become India’s central bank chief following the exit of Raghuram Rajan, at SBI “she has continued her high-profile battle with the bank’s bad loans, while courting overseas partners like KKR to invest in the stressed assets.”

And, with the bank in the process of merging its associates with itself, Bhattacharya will head one of the largest banks in the world. Fortune said that though her term comes to an end next month, she is likely to get an extension.

“Even rival bankers acknowledge that Kochhar is a visionary,” Fortune said of the ICICI Bank head. “Though bad loans took a toll on income growth this year, Kochhar has engaged turnaround experts to help ditch those distressed assets,” it said while commenting on her work at the bank which has a market capitalisation of more than $21 billion.

Talking of the 57-year-old Sharma, Fortune said that she was on the list as she had grown Axis Bank “from an underrepresented bank to the nation’s fastest growing private sector lender, with revenue up 15% to $7.9 billion in 2015 and nearly 3,000 branches across 1,800 cities and towns.”

Last week, Pepsico Inc.’s chief Indra Nooyi had been ranked second on Fortune’s list of the most powerful women in the US. She was the only woman of Indian origin on that list.

Apart from Botin, Fortune’s list features Isabelle Kocher, of French multinational electric company Engie; Chua Sock Koong, who heads Singapore Telecommunications Group; and Alison Cooper of the UK’s Imperial Brands.

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SBI’s Bhattacharya, ICICI’s Chanda Kochhar in Fortune list of powerful businesswomen

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