Shikha Sharma is currently the CEO & Managing Director of Axis Bank. She is the chairperson of Axis Asset Management Company Limited (AAMC). Axis bank was set up in 1994 and is presently, India’s 3rd largest Bank in the private sector in terms of total assets and 4th largest Bank in terms of market capitalization. She has received wide recognition for her achievements and is a recipient of many business awards.
Shikha Sharma was born on November 19, 1958 in the family of an army man. Her father was a brigadier in the ordnance corps of the Indian Army, an ammunition expert who had also had fought two India-Pakistan wars in the past.
Born into an army family, Shikha had to travel all over the country, due to which she had to change schools. She attended seven schools and finished her schooling from Loreto Convent, Delhi.
Post that; she wanted to opt for Physics but because it wasn’t available in LSR College and so she settled for Economics. She pursued her UG from Lady Shri Ram College for Women (LSR), Delhi in Economics followed by an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad. She also holds a PG diploma in Software Technology from the National Centre for Software Technology in Mumbai.
Shikha married Sanjaya Sharma, her batch-mate at IIM-A. Her husband is the CEO at Tata Interactive Systems.
Shikha has a work experience of more than thirty years. Born and raised by an Army officer, discipline and ethics have been instilled in her since day one and these qualities have rightly helped her in climbing the ladders of her much-deserved success.
Her career began right after completing her graduation from IIM, Ahmedabad. She joined ICICI, India’s largest financial service provider in the year 1980. Shikha was a workaholic from the start. She always worked hard towards the development of the organization, considering the growth of the company as hers.
At the start of her career she got the mentorship of K.V. Kamath – the current chairman at ICICI and Mark Tucker – the former group CEO of Prudential Plc. and now CEO of AIA Group Ltd. When the bank gained the license to carry out the business of insurance, becoming the first private sector bank to get such a privilege, Shikha was chosen to Lead the life insurance division of the group.
Being the intelligent one; using her talents and creativity, Shikha was able to preserve her lead from day one, because of which the organization has till date remained the largest private sector life insurance company in India. Other than that; in her 29-year tenure, she has taken ICICI Group to another level of success and she has also been the key instrument in setting up various businesses for them too!
Besides setting up various group businesses for ICICI including investment banking and retail finance; in 1992, she involved herself in setting up of ICICI Securities which was a joint venture between ICICI and JP Morgan. Followed by that; in 1995, she shifted to ICICI Securities and was then deputed to JP Morgan & Co. After showing them the right path, in 1997 Shikha made a comeback to ICICI as their new Managing Director & CEO for ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company and a year later also became the Managing Director of ICICI Personal Financial Services.
Since then, for the next few years (till 2009 to be precise) she served ICICI with her complete heart and mind.
Shikha also acted as a Non-Executive and Non-Independent Director of Firstsource Solutions Limited and an Independent Director of ACC Limited.
After ICICI, came her next stint with Axis Bank. She took over the position of the CEO and Managing Director of Axis Bank on June 1, 2009.
In her leadership, Axis bank has grown and continues to grow bigger by every passing day. Primarily a corporate bank at large since its establishment in 1994, Axis Bank has now achieved roughly 36% retail assets. It is among the top ten banks of India.
As of June 2014; Axis bank has assets of Rs 3.79 lakh crore, has grown their ‘return on equity’ to nearly 18%, brought down and maintained their net non-performing assets of 0.44 percent, have increased to over 2,400 branches and 11,796 ATMs making it the largest ATM network pan India and have grown to become a strong corporate and retail franchise.
Other than that; since Shikha’s appointment as MD & CEO of Axis Bank in 2009, the bank’s stock has grown by an extraordinary 90% and the Bank’s assets have grown by 30% in 2012-13 to USD 55 billion. Not to forget; under her leadership the Bank has also expanded in foreign markets like Singapore and Hong Kong too!
Despite three decades of experience with the ICICI group performing various roles which included everything from setting up its investment banking wing to running consumer lending and personal services divisions and not forgetting her leading the insurance company, working for Axis bank came as a challenge.
Image Credit: www.ibtimes.co.in
Role model to women:
Axis Bank has had no women executives in the next three tiers after her. In a male dominated financial world, Shikha has successfully carved a place for herself. She is the kind of person who has climbed every ladder of success with just her hard work and intelligence, overcoming all the hurdles and challenges that have come in her path.
Awards and Recognitions
- Transformational Business Leader of the Year’ at AIMA’s Managing India Awards – 2012
- Woman Leader of the year’ at Bloomberg – UTV Financial Leadership Awards – 2012
- Businessworld’s Banker of the Year Award – 2012
- Forbes List of Asia’s 50 Power Business Women – 2012
- Indian Express Most Powerful Indians – 2012
- India Today Power List of 25 Most Influential Women – 2012
- Finance Asia’s Top 20 Women in Finance – 2011
- Business Today ‘Hall of Fame’ – 2011
- Fortune Global and India list of 50 Most Powerful Women in Business – 2011
- Businesswoman of the Year at the Economic Times Awards – 2008
- Entrepreneur of the Year – Manager at the E&Y Entrepreneur Awards – 2007
- Outstanding Businesswoman of the Year, CNBC TV 18’s Business Leader Awards