Five reigning stars of the Silicon Valley are Indians
Indian-origin people account for just about one percent of the US population and six percent of Silicon Valley’s workforce — and yet are disproportionately represented in the top brass. In fact, they are at the highest echelons in the Silicon Valley, a region in California State which is the biggest hub for global technology and innovation.
The five reigning biggies among the Indian-Americans are :
Parag Agrawal – CEO, Twitter
Parag Agrawal has recently been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of Twitter. The 37 year old has took over on November 29 from Jack Dorsey — the embattled founder of an embattled company that has struggled to keep pace with contemporaries such as Facebook.
Parag is also the youngest CEO in Fortune 500 companies. A report in The New York Times said he will receive an annual salary of USD 1 million, in addition to bonuses, restricted stock units and performance-based stock units.
Born in Ajmer, Parag moved to Mumbai because of his father’s job and later studied software engineering at IIT Bombay. Then he shifted to Stanford, from where he completed his Ph.D.
He worked at Microsoft and Yahoo and held leadership positions before joining Twitter in 2011. He was promoted to the post of Chief Technology Officer.
Satya Nadella – Executive Chairman & CEO, Microsoft
Satya Nadella was announced as the CEO of Microsoft on 4th February 2014 and was the third CEO of Microsoft after Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.
A graduate of Manipal Institute of Technology, Karnataka, Nadella moved to the US to pursue M.S. in computer science at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. He worked at Sun Microsystems before joining Microsoft in 1992.
Nadella has been credited for helping bring Microsoft’s database, Windows Server and developer tools to its Azure cloud.
He also serves on the board of directs of Starbucks and on the board of trustees of the University of Chicago and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Sundar Pichai – CEO, Google and Alphabet
Sundar Pichai serves as the CEO of Alphabet Inc. the parent company of Google, and Google itself. Born in Madras(Chennai) , Pichai went to IIT Kharagpur to study metallurgical engineering.
After moving to the United States, he attained an M.S. from Stanford University in materials science and engineering and further attained an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Pichai was chosen to become the next CEO of Google on August 10, 2015. He was previously the Company’s Product Chief. The then CEO Larry Page himself promoted Pichai. On October 24, 2015, he stepped into the new position at the completion of the formation of Alphabet Inc., the parent company which holds google and its other acquired companies.
Shantanu Narayen – CEO, Adobe Inc.
Shantanu Narayan has been the chairman, president, and chief executive officer (CEO) of Adobe Inc. since December 2007.
Narayen grew up in Hyderabad, India where he attended Hyderabad Public School. He pursued electrical engineering from University College of Engineering, Osmania University in Hyderabad.
He then moved to the United States to complete his education, and in 1986 received a master’s degree in computer science from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. In 1993 he also received an MBA from the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley.
Working in Measurex Automation Systems, a startup and then moving to companies like Apple, he finally found himself in Adobe, where he later rose ranks to become the CEO.
In 2018, Narayen was ranked #12 on Fortune’s “Businessperson of the Year” list and in 2019, the Indian government gave him the Padma Shri award.
Ajay Banga – Executive chairman of the board of directors of MasterCard
Though Banga will leave MasterCard this month-end and join General Atlantic, a leading global growth equity firm, he has been in the company for 11 years as the company’s president and chief executive officer.
Ajay is a co-founder of The Cyber Readiness Institute, chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce and a trustee of the United States Council for International Business.
Ajay is a founding trustee of the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum, a member of the U.S.-India CEO Forum and is chairman emeritus of the American India Foundation. He served as a member of President Obama’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. He is a past member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.
He was awarded the Padma Shri Award by the President of India in 2016, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2019 and the Business Council for International Understanding’s Global Leadership Award. He is a fellow of the Foreign Policy Association and was awarded the Foreign Policy Association Medal in 2012.
Ajay is a member of the Weill Cornell Medicine board of fellows. In addition, Ajay serves as a director of Dow Inc. and is a member of its compensation and governance committees.
Prior to MasterCard, Ajay served as chief executive officer of Citigroup Asia Pacific. During his career at Citigroup, he held a variety of senior management roles in the United States, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa. He also oversaw the company’s efforts in microfinance.
Ajay began his career at Nestlé, India, where for 13 years he worked on assignments spanning sales, marketing and general management. He also spent two years with PepsiCo, where he was instrumental in launching its fast food franchises in India as the economy liberalized.
He graduated from Delhi University and the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad.
All the above cases prove that the reason behind Indians getting the leading roles is their high education. As per a Pew report published earlier, 77.5 per cent Indians in the US had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2016, which was the highest among any top origin country. This was in sharp contrast to that of native-born Americans, only 31.6 per cent of who have a similar degree.
Indian’s are also known for their approach of doing more with less resources, or what’s locally known as ‘jugaad’. This makes them use up lesser amount of capital and still get the job done, eventually making companies prefer Indians over natives in leading positions.
India-born Silicon Valley CEOs are also part of a four million-strong minority group that is among the wealthiest and most educated in the US.
About a million of them are scientists and engineers. More than 70 percent of H-1B visas — work permits for foreigners — issued by the US go to Indian software engineers, and 40 percent of all foreign-born engineers in cities like Seattle are from India, states a BBC report.