On February 4, 2014, Microsoft appointed Satya Nadella as Chief Executive Officer, who previously held the position of Executive Vice President of the company’s Cloud and Enterprise group. This news reaffirmed the trend of multi-national companies hiring CEO’s of Indian origin. Companies such as Pepsi, Deutsche Bank, MasterCard, Adobe Systems, Diageo, Reckitt Benckiser, and Global Foundries all have Indian-born CEOs.
Recent BBC news points out a few reasons for this trend. The first is that Indian CEOs can relate to different cultures as they were brought up in a diverse society with a mixture of cultures and religions. In addition, the competitive environment of their schooling system instills a healthy work ethic right from the start of their schooling. Since most companies in India are still family owned, there are very few opportunities to succeed to a higher level, and hence, Indians are looking for opportunities in foreign public companies. According to a Bloomberg article based upon research from St. Gallen University, another reason for the trend could be that Indian executives are inclined toward participative management and building meaningful relationships with subordinates. These attributes align with the qualities many companies look for in a leader.
With the rapid pace of globalization and the sheer number of Indians going to the U.S. and other developing nations, we can expect more Indian-born CEOs in the future, not just in multinational companies but also in other smaller companies as competition increases.