W Power 2024

Nandita Sinha: Myntra's CEO is a rare combination of intelligence, grit and empathy

Myntra CEO Nandita Sinha has built her career ground-up: backed by a family that taught her to believe in herself and voice her opinions from an early age, to taking up challenges head-on from the early days of her career till now, as she finds herself at the top of her game

Rajiv Singh
Published: Mar 26, 2024 12:37:57 PM IST
Updated: Apr 8, 2024 02:08:52 PM IST

Nandita Sinha: Myntra's CEO is a rare combination of intelligence, grit and empathy Myntra CEO Nandita Sinha Image: Mexy Xavier Wardrobe: Mango, Myntra; Stylist: Karishma Chouksey

Can an epilogue be the prologue of a book? Can the closing credit, which usually rolls at the end of a movie, be the opening credit? Can a vote of thanks be delivered even if one doesn’t get an award? Nandita Sinha thinks so. And this is what makes her an exception.

Let’s start with the first quality that makes her the odd one out. The chief executive officer (CEO) of Flipkart-owned fashion platform Myntra is aware that this writer is interviewing her for the W-Power special issue of Forbes India, but she doesn’t paint her interview with the gender brush.

She, in fact, presents the other side of the gender, which usually gets overlooked and remains untold. “My husband has been my biggest cheerleader and the wind beneath my wings,” reckons Sinha, who started her professional innings with HUL, added more to her sales and marketing skills at Britannia, co-founded and ran a startup for a while, joined Flipkart in August 2013, and became CEO of Myntra in January 2022. “My husband supported me at every stage like a true partner and my journey wouldn’t have been possible without him,” she underlines.  

The CEO then expresses her gratitude to three men, crediting and thanking them for ardently believing in her capabilities. “Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Sriram Venkataraman and Amitesh Jha played a big part in my professional journey,” contends Sinha. While Krishnamurthy and Venkataraman are the CEO and CFO of Flipkart Group, respectively, Jha is the SVP (category and marketplace) at Flipkart. “They honed my skills and mentored me,” she adds.

Nandita Sinha: Myntra's CEO is a rare combination of intelligence, grit and empathySinha takes a deep dive into her story and tells us how the seeds of courage were sown in the heart of a young girl who was born and brought up in an academically-oriented family in Lucknow. Her mother was a physics professor, and there was a long list of PhDs, doctors and engineers in the family. The flip side—or collateral damage—of being born into such a family is that she always found herself immersed in intellectual conversations. While growing up, Sinha was encouraged to voice her opinion, even if that meant politely disagreeing with her parents. From expressing her reasons for taking a different stand and deciding to do something that was not traditional—take, for instance, the decision to study ceramic engineering at IIT BHU—Sinha was always inspired and given the freedom to be her own. “That was the starting point of the courage,” she says.

The DNA of being fearless helped when she joined Unilever as a management trainee in 2004. The stint was adventurous and action-packed. From sales to marketing to spending time in villages, Sinha was learning the craft and was also in the process of self-discovery. A chin-strapped helmet, a moped, and dusty rural terrain… the MBA grad from FMS Delhi spent months navigating the crumbly tracks. “I made it a mission to reach out to at least 50 kirana owners every day,” she says.

The gruelling drill prepared her for bigger challenges in her subsequent corporate profiles. But what also was of immense help is something that again a few would acknowledge. Veteran sales officers—many had spent decades in the system—made the young woman feel comfortable in her role. “They invested a lot in my learning and training,” she says. Around four years at HUL and two years at Britannia mentally prepared her for tough assignments of any nature. She kept hunting for opportunities, and opportunities kept looking for her.

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Her fearless streak manifested again when she co-founded MyBabyCart, an ecommerce startup for baby products. “I had a six-month-old to take care of and then I decided to venture into the startup world,” she says. Though the gambit didn’t work, Sinha got an opportunity to work at Flipkart in August 2013. Little over eight-and-a-half years into her stint—she started as associate director for health and beauty verticals—Sinha got another opportunity to helm Myntra in January 2022. In over two years, she has again proved her mettle. In 2021, Myntra had around 280 international brands on its platform. It has now jumped to around 420.

Then came 2023, a defining year for Myntra in terms of its beauty play and vertical. Today, beauty is the fastest-growing category on the platform. “Myntra Beauty has been growing at 3x the online beauty market,” she claims. A heady professional growth and success have not done any damage to her humility, though. “I would prefer to be known as a woman role model rather than a woman achiever,” she says.

Nandita Sinha: Myntra's CEO is a rare combination of intelligence, grit and empathy

Venkatraman tells us what makes Sinha special. “She is a rare combination of intelligence, grit and empathy,” he reckons. Her commitment to solving real problems, coupled with her ability to help others see the big picture, has turbo-charged various businesses, he adds. “She continues to remain audacious and take up challenges fearlessly.”
Sinha, for her part, believes in staying grounded. “Be fearless, grab whatever opportunities you get, and make the most of them,” she signs off by sharing some priceless nuggets for young girls and women.

(This story appears in the 22 March, 2024 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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