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Stanchart's Turnaround Specialist

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Zarin Daruwala, 

Cluster CEO, India and South Asia markets, Standard Chartered Bank
age: 56
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If any institution in India has to be given credit for creating women leaders by the dozen, it has to be ICICI, under K.V. Kamath. One such mentee, Zarin Daruwala, has been at the helm of Stanchart India since 2015. The first turning point for Daruwala was when Kamath asked her to create the agri business. "Although I was from corporate banking, I was given the role. I travelled the length and breadth of the country, spent time in understanding the rural landscape and also set up the first rural ATM," recalls Daruwala. The second turning point was when she moved into her current role. At Stanchart, Daruwala ran the loss-making retail businesses for almost a year-and-a-half and turned it around. "Turning around the loss-making franchise was a rewarding experience," Zariwala says. But the toughest phase has been the past one year with pandemic ravaging businesses and lives. "When you are not able to get a hospital bed or oxygen delivered in time — those were the most traumatic times," recalls Daruwala. Going ahead, being digital-ready is top priority. "It's important to have a deep understanding of technology trends because if you are late, what you design today would have changed by the time you finish," says Daruwala. While a lot of strategic initiatives have been lined up, improving customer and digital experience top the list. In the year ahead, Daruwala wants to make the most of an economic recovery as India Inc. and the government unleash their animal spirits.