Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Chairperson of HCL Technologies, First Woman to Head a Listed, Indian, IT Company

Roshni Nadar Malhotra, the chairperson of HCL Technologies, has been hitting the headlines quite too often this year for all the good reasons, of course. In July, Ms Nadar took over as the chairperson of HCL Technologies, succeeding her father Shiv Nadar. With this appointment, the 39-year-old daughter of Mr Nadar, who founded the Noida, Uttar Pradesh-headquartered company in 1976, became the first woman to head a listed, Indian, IT company.

Then in early December, Ms Nadar was named India’s richest woman with a fortune of Rs 54,850 crore by the latest Kotak Wealth Hurun report. Days later, the new HCL chief was in the news yet again, this time, figuring in the Forbes Power List of the world’s 100 most powerful women. Ms Nadar – who happens to be the youngest woman to achieve this feat in Forbes Technology category – rubs shoulders with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and heads of States, CEOs and other top women of over 30 countries in the coveted Forbes’ list.

Interestingly, Ms Nadar’s ascent to the topmost position of the over Rs 70,600-crore IT solutions company has taken quite some time. In fact, she was inducted into the board of HCL Corporation, the holding company of many HCL Technologies’ companies, way back in 2008. But it took some 12 years for her to finally take over as the chairperson of HCL Technologies, partly because of her reluctance to plunge head on into the technology company’s administration.

Instead, Ms Nadar was more inclined towards social service, and she got involved in HCL Technologies’ education initiative. She played a vital role in the functioning of the IT company’s VidyaGyan Schools, which offer free education to children across Uttar Pradesh. She soon became a trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation, which runs the SSN Institutions, Shiv Nadar University, VidyaGyan Schools and other educational and cultural institutions.

Perhaps Ms Nadar’s inclination towards social enterprise could be because of her training in social sciences. Moreover, her mother Kiran Nadar, a renowned art collector and philanthropist, may also have influenced Ms Nadar’s social endeavours. An alumna of New Delhi’s Vasant Valley School, Ms Nadar graduated in communication with a focus on radio, TV and film from Northwestern University and also pursued her MBA from Kellogg School of Management – both in the US.

A trained classical musician, the new chairperson of HCL Technologies had also worked with Sky News UK and CNN America as a news producer before finally joining HCL Corporation in 2008. Ms Nadar eventually joined the board of HCL Technologies in 2013 and took over as its chairperson in December 2020.

Ms Nadar steps into the big shoes of her father in this challenging time. However, her ascent will not change anything materially on the operations side of the business, as Mr Nadar will continue to be the managing director of the company. This provides Ms Nadar with the opportunity to learn the intricacies of the business from her illustrious father. Meanwhile, this time will also help Ms Nadar reshape HCL into an IT powerhouse. 

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