Samina Vaziralli : Sorry, no tokenism here

Published: Mar 16, 2017

Over a decade in financial journalism, I have specialized in covering news that matters to India Inc. and its stakeholders, including developments at India's largest corporations and and MNCs. The subject of my writing has been analysis of strategy, financial performance, M&A and fundraising activity, consumption behaviour and emerging trends in management and leadership. Industry verticals that I have written on include oil & gas, power, infra, metals & mining, auto, telecom, FMCG & retail, and start-ups. I also play the role of an editorial lead for proprietary events like the Forbes India Leadership Award and the Forbes India CEO Dialogues. An alumnus of Asian College of Journalism, Chennai and Jadavpur University, Kolkata, I have worked for publications such as Mint, The Financial Express and The Indian Express before this.


Samina Vaziralli, Executive vice chairman, Cipla


It was during her stint at Goldman Sachs in the US that Samina Vaziralli, 41, first realised the value that women leaders bring to the table. Her bosses were all women, who were “not only seen, but also heard”. “That gave me a very different perspective towards life and I brought back to Cipla a lot of lessons from my experience there,” says Vaziralli, who assumed her current role at Cipla in September 2016. Prior to that, she was the pharma major’s global head of strategy, M&A and new ventures.

In continuance of Cipla’s focus on gender diversity, four (out of 12) of its directors are women and so are two (out of five) of its leaders in the management council.

Vaziralli, the daughter of MK Hamied, Cipla’s non-executive vice chairman, and niece of YK Hamied, non-executive chairman, joined the company in 2011. Under her leadership, Cipla is transforming from an India-focussed generics company to one that specialises in complex technologies with a global footprint. A graduate in finance from the London School of Economics and Political Science, Vaziralli led two crucial acquisitions in the US that have established a platform for Cipla’s future growth in that market. She has focussed on cost rationalisation, operational excellence and hiring the right talent.  


My bosses were all women, who were not only seen, but also heard.

(This story appears in the 17 March, 2017 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from To visit our Archives, click here.)

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