Daughters of billionaires ready to roar

These young ladies are not satisfied by the corner room marked for the boss's daughter. 

They roll up their sleeves if dad's company demands, at times even starting their own ventures.

Akshata Murthy

DAD: Narayan Murthy, Infosys

When Narayan Murthy's daughter Akshata Murthy got married to Rishi Sunak, a British citizen of Indian origin, at a wedding very low key for an IT billionaire's daughter, she proved that it's normal not to have a fairy-tale life just because she's one of those privileged princesses! Akshata, who herself holds 1.4 per cent stake in Infosys at a net worth of Rs 1,700 crore, figures among the daughters of India's billionaires, being prepared for a role in their parents' business empires. Starting out as a venture capitalist in the US, Akshata is now marketing director with Tendris, a Dutch cleantech incubator fund. "She has always wanted to be in marketing," says a proud Narayan Murthy.

If earlier, young women entrepreneurs got to occupy the corner room only because of their family connections, today most prefer to work their way up. Some are even apprenticing with businesses outside their family domain. And yes, they adore their dads and love to "beat him at his own game". Together, these father-daughter duos have their share of fun, tears, bruises and rifts… but at the end of the day, they know it's all business! 

Ambika Hinduja Macker

DAD: A P Hinduja, Hinduja Group

She's the daughter of Ashok Hinduja, the youngest of the four Hinduja brothers, ranked among the richest in the world. She had the world of business at her feet. Yet, when she announced her decision to become a filmmaker, her dad didn't bat an eyelid. "I have always encouraged her to follow her dreams. She's passionate, hands-on about everything she does; it's either all the way or not at all."

On her part, Ambika thinks her father and uncles "are exemplars of what it is to combine brilliance, charm, tact and toil. They've taught me to achieve the impossible." She adds, "I think of myself as a professional, a daughter, a spouse, and a friend. But I don't think I can make a career out of vacationing. I would go crazy if all I did was to get manicures!"

Upasna Reddy Kamineni

GRANDDAD: Dr P C Reddy, Apollo Hospitals

Upasna Reddy has many role models. Her maternal grandfather is the head of the largest private healthcare provider in Asia and the third largest in the world. Armed with a Global Marketing Management degree from the UK, she says, "My grandfather, who was a top surgeon in the US, was so touched by the grim conditions here when he came for a vacation that he decided to stay. He's allowed his four daughters to run the company, never missing not having a son. I too want to touch a million lives. I'm starting by taking care of the 'Save a Child's Heart' Foundation." The best time, she says, is when the family packs off to London, and "we watch movies, shop, but business invariably pops up!"

Roshni Nadar

DAD: Shiv Nadar, HCL Corp

Her father, IT czar Shiv Nadar, heads a billiondollar company. She could have asked for a corner office at the HCL headquarters, yet Roshni Nadar opted to work as an intern with CNN in the US. It was when she was working as a news producer with Sky News in London, that her dad asked her, "Do you want to come back? There is a huge responsibility back home."

Roshni, an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, returned from the US in October last year, and was involved with HCL before taking over as the executive director and CEO. Right now she's in charge of VidyaGyan, the company's education initiative. The transition from media to business hasn't been easy, but her dad's been a pillar of strength. On her initiation into the education initiative , she has said, "I have been thrown into the ocean and now I have to swim."

Devita Saraf

DAD: Raj Saraf, Zenith Computers

Devita is one lucky girl. Her doting dad, industrialist Raj Saraf, who heads the second largest PC maker company in India, knew early on that his daughter had keen business sense. "I made her attend press conferences and factory openings, when she was just four. At 22, I threw her into the grind by making her director at Zenith."

Devita says her dad's never been the one to lecture, but "put me at the centre of the action". She says, "My parents taught me to take risks. They never stopped me, even as a teenager when I went globetrotting." A BBA from the University of Southern California, Devita takes care of Vu Tech, a spin-off she began. She is also an executive committee member of FICCI. Does she see herself in her father's chair one day? "I've a lot to learn."

Ashni Biyani

DAD: Kishore Biyani, CEO, Future Group (Big Bazaar)

Ashni Biyani's father is open about the fact that he has a succession plan ready. He has pushed his successors, daughter Ashni and nephew Vivek, into the limelight. He doesn't believe Ashni should waste time working her way up. Says Ashni, "The way I see myself in the group is not only about what I'm doing here today. I look beyond in terms of thought leadership."

A Stanford passout, Ashni is a design manager with the company, and has led the launch of a number of the group's specialty retail formats and brands. Her dad's her role model. "He's also the toughest taskmaster around. So, when he tells you that he's proud of you, it's a once-in-a-lifetime moment," she says.

"Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain"


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