Six daughters of industrialists who are making their own space under the Sun


They are 21st century Indian princesses, born with the metaphorical silver spoon in their mouths. With staggering personal wealth and doting dads and moms, these ladies rarely want for anything. But these spirited lasses are not ones to rest on their parents’ laurels. Armed with Ivy League degrees and loads of determination, these young ladies have started plotting their own journeys of success.

Ananyashree Birla empowers women through Svatantra

22-year-old Ananyashree Birla, daughter of industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and Neeraja Birla, founded microfinancing startup called Svatantra in 2013. She has chosen not to join the $41 billion Aditya Birla conglomerate as of now, and it seems like there is no pressure from her parents in that regard. Svatantra aims at making rural entrepreneurs, predominantly women clients, economically self-sustainable through affordable, innovative solutions – micro credit being the main focus.

An alumnus of Oxford University, where she studied Economics and Management, Ananyashree was chosen as one of Miss Vogue’s “28 Geniuses under 28”. An avid chess player, she has played chess at the National Level. This multi-faceted lady is also passionate about classical music and plays the santoor.

Isha Ambani is getting ready to shoulder the Reliance mantle

Isha Ambani, the only daughter Mukesh and Nita Ambani, has been making a mark as a member of the boards of Reliance Jio Infocomm and Reliance Retail Ventures. After graduating in Psychology and South Asian studies from Yale University, 24-year-old Isha worked briefly as a business analyst with McKinsey in New York. Isha loves playing the piano and made it to Forbes youngest billionaire heiresses’ list while still in her teens.

Image Credit: Ananyashree Birla, Shruti Shibulal, Isha Ambani, Manasi Kirloskar, Lakshmi Venu, Nisaba GodrejShruti Shibulal takes responsible tourism to new heights

With 0.64 per cent stake in Infosys (that is valued at over $200 million), former Infosys CEO and billionaire Shibulal’s daughter Shruti Shibulal is on the road to establishing her own business empire. Married to Gaurav Manchanda, 30-year-old Shruti is Director – Strategy and Development at The Tamara, a group of resorts conceptualised by Shruti in 2005 with the objective of creating world class chain of resorts and hotels.

After getting her degree from Columbia University, Shruti converted a 170-acre coffee plantation in Coorg into a luxury resort, the Tamara Coorg in 2012. She follows the principles of sustainable living and responsible tourism in all her hospitality projects. The Tamara Coorg, the company’s first resort, was set up without harming the natural environment and local ecosystem of Coorg. An admirer of Sheryl Sandberg, Shruti’s ventures also include service apartments in Bengaluru, a business hotel in Thiruvananthapuram and a resort in Kerala, among others.

A jazz music aficionado, Shruti collaborated with Chef Abhijit Saha to open upscale restaurant Caperberry, where the menu offers gourmet food with a dash of molecular gastronomy to whet appetite and curiosity, and Fava, a Mediterranean restaurant.

Nisaba Godrej straddles work life balance with ease

Nisaba Adi Godrej, also known as Nisa, is the Executive Director of Godrej Consumer Products. There is speculation that she will pip siblings Tanya Dubash and Pirojsha Godrej in the succession race. Daughter of Adi and Parmeshwar Godrej, Nisa is married to fellow Whartonite, Kalpesh Mehta. She has been a forceful voice on the company board and has been instrumental in revitalising the fortunes of the group that was founded in 1897. Couple of years back, she made news for attending board meetings with her one month old baby during her maternity leave. Nisa is a strong advocate of women-friendly policies in the work place.

Manasi Kirloskar, the artist and the businesswoman

26-year-old Manasi Kirloskar is the only child of industrialists Geetanjali and Vikram Kirloskar. As the scion of the Toyota Kirloskar empire, Manasi knew right from her childhood that she has to join the business. But she also followed her passion for art by studying at Rhode Island School of Design. Manasi continues to pursue her art while taking over at the helm of the family’s healthcare and real estate businesses. The Sakra World Hospital in Bengaluru is her priority right now. Manasi wants to improve the quality of healthcare in the country and convert Sakra into a chain with presence in other Indian cities.

Lakshmi Venu, the businesswoman par excellence

Lakshmi Venu is the Joint Managing Director of Sundaram-Clayton Limited (SCL), a subsidiary of the $7 billion TVS Group, one of India’s leading automotive manufacturing companies. With a Bachelor’s Degree in economics from Yale University and a Doctorate in Engineering Management from the University of Warwick, England, Lakshmi has a natural flair for leadership. While father Venu Srinivasan is the chairman of the TVS group, her mother Mallika Srinivasan is the chairperson of Tractors and Farm Equipment Ltd (TAFE). Moving on from her short-lived marriage to Rohan Murty, Lakshmi is fully focussed on improving the fortunes of Sundaram-Clayton in the volatile automotive sales market while her younger brother Sudarshan has taken over at TVS Motor.

These young ladies seem to embody the newer generation of scions of top industrialist families, where it is no longer only the male children who take over the reins of the business. Some of them are even moving away from the family business and making their name on their own. Surely a good sign for corporate India!