Founder and chairman, Marico (Jury Chair)
Harsh Mariwala has built the ₹9,512 crore FMCG giant Marico—led by flagship brands Saffola and Parachute—after starting out with commoditised products such as edible and coconuts oils.
He now scouts for young Indian entrepreneurs and facilitates the startup ecosystem through the not-for-profit Ascent Foundation. Mariwala’s experience of building traditional large businesses, while maintaining strong independence and corporate governance standards, and identifying new entrepreneurship talent, was invaluable to our exercise.
Founder, Marcellus Investment Managers
Saurabh Mukherjea’s Marcellus Investment Managers is one of the fastest-growing portfolio management services in the country, managing and advising equity assets in excess of ₹10,000 crore ($1.21 billion). Its investment philosophy revolves around companies with clean accounting practices, superior capital allocation and strong sustainable competitive advantages built around brands, business processes and strategic assets. Mukherjea is the author of seven bestselling books. He brought with him his expertise of interpreting financial data, balance sheets and interpreting new-age leadership.
Managing partner, Brookfield Asset Management
Ankur Gupta is head of Brookfield’s India office and also leads their real estate business across the Middle East and South Asia regions. In India, Brookfield had deployed around $21 billion in assets by 2022.
Gupta has led the growth of Brookfield’s real estate portfolio to over 50 million square feet in gateway Indian cities. Under his leadership, the Brookfield India REIT got listed on the Indian bourses in 2021. Gupta brings with him the understanding of developing businesses from the ground.
CEO, Aditya Birla Capital
Vishakha Mulye is new to the jury. She heads ABCL, the holding company of all the financial services businesses of the Aditya Birla Group. A former banker, she was an executive director on the board of ICICI Bank and led several strategic initiatives as a part of the ICICI Group.
Mulye is a member of the Aspen Institute’s ‘India Leadership Initiative’. Her strength as a former banker-turned-corporate leader is to interpret balance sheets and provide the perspective on building well-managed institutions.
Managing director, Sequoia India
Sakshi Chopra is also a new member to the jury. The thrill of building enduring companies and the deep friendships built through the roller-coaster rides of startups drives her. Prior to Sequoia, she had worked with Deutsche Bank in Germany and in India, with Global Transaction Banking and as an executive assistant to Member of the Management Board and Head of Private and Business Clients. Chopra’s focus in India is to continue to look to partner with founders who are building very strategic categories with multiple years of compounding.
MD and CEO, IDFC First Bank
V Vaidyanathan has led one of the fastest-growing new-age banks in India with funded assets of ₹152,152 crore, as of December 2022. A former Citibanker during the 1990s, he joined ICICI Bank in the early 2000s and built its retail banking business before heading ICICI-Prudential’s life insurance business in 2009. He later led the NBFC Capital First before taking charge of IDFC First Bank since late 2018. Vaidyanathan brings a deep understanding of corporate functioning and governance, strengthening the financial health of organisations and building effective businesses.
Chairman of India operations, Bain Capital
Amit Chandra is a new member to the jury. A former banker, he is the founder of the Mumbai office, and the chairperson of Bain Capital India. Having joined in 2008, he is also a member of the Asian Pacific leadership team. Prior to Bain, Chandra led the Global Markets and investment banking business at DSP Merrill Lynch (now BofA Securities). Chandra, a vice chairperson at the Marico Innovation Foundation, brings a rich understanding of entrepreneurial spirit, innovations in the ecosystem and the dynamics of investing in philanthropy and social impact causes.
For a newly created ‘Emerging Innovator’ category—where innovation is the core criterion for selection—Forbes India approached experts such as Gopichand Katragadda, founder of Myelin Foundry and former CTO of Tata Group; Sanjay Swamy, founding managing partner at early stage VC firm Prime Venture Partners; Sanjay Jain, partner at Bharat Fund and Sanjay Purohit, chief curator at Societal Platform and former CEO of Infosys EdgeVerve, to select the winner in this category, from eight nominations.
(This story appears in the 31 March, 2023 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)