YIR 2020: 10 top Indian business newsmakers of the year

Srishti P
·5-min read

At a time when the global economy was reeling under the coronavirus pandemic, these outstanding personalities in the world of business & finance in India recognised the opportunities that the crisis offered and used them to their advantage during the ill-fated year of 2020.

Here is Yahoo India’s list of Business Newsmakers of the year 2020 and who are likely to continue riding the success wave in 2021 owing to the hard work of the year gone by.

Note: This is not a ranked list.

Adar Poonawalla

The Chief Executive Officer of Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla has been the cynosure of the vaccine wars among pharmaceutical companies around the world with his company being one of the major contenders to finding a breakthrough solution to the coronavirus crisis. The Pune-based company has collaborated with Oxford University and pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca for making the vaccine and is conducting trials in India. He is among six people named ‘Asians of the Year’ by Singapore's leading daily, The Straits Times for his company’s work in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mukesh Ambani

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, emerged as India’s wealthiest for the 13th straight year as his net worth swelled to $88.7 billion (around Rs 6.65 lakh crore) despite the coronavirus outbreak. RIL shares soared when, amid the lockdown, Ambani raised more than $20 billion for Jio Platforms, Reliance’s fast-growing digital arm, from a string of marquee investors that included Facebook and Google.

Gautam Adani

While the coronavirus outbreak sank the nation into an unprecedented recession this year, Adani’s group has kept on growing. His conglomerate secured global partners, investments and pushed into new sectors. Shares of most of his firms have surged, including those of his mining, gas and ports units. Adani Green Energy Ltd has jumped more than six-fold this year as it received a record $6 billion solar-power deal, another step toward the company’s goal of becoming the world’s largest renewable-energy maker by 2025.

Uday Kotak

In 2020, the Reserve Bank of India extended Uday Kotak’s term as Managing Director of Kotak Mahindra Bank. While India has been grappling with a shadow-lending crisis, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd has been able to rise above the crisis, gaining investors’ trust by starting to slow lending to riskier sectors more than two years ago and keeping good corporate governance. At 61, Uday Kotak has a fortune estimated at $16 billion and is one of India’s richest bankers.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

Dr Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson of India-based Biocon Limited, was named EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020. She was picked from among 46 award winners from 41 countries and territories vying for the world title. In the award’s 20-year history, Kiran becomes the third EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winner from India. She follows former Indian world title winners Uday Kotak of Kotak Mahindra Bank (2014) and N R Narayana Murthy of Infosys Technologies Limited (2005). She also became the second woman to hold the title, following Olivia Lum of Hyflux Limited from Singapore in 2011. Her pharma company Biocon is set to start phase IV trials of a potential COVID-19 drug and her wealth nearly doubled to $4.6 billion in 2020.

Anand Mahindra

At the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum’s third Annual Leadership Summit ‘US-India Week: Navigating New Challenges’, Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group, was conferred with the 2020 Leadership Award for exemplary vision towards promoting US-India bilateral ties. Needless to highlight that his active tweets on a range of issues not only kept him in the news but kept us thoroughly entertained.

Nirmala Sitharaman

The year 2020 posed unanticipated distress for Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was constantly in the center of a storm with having to address economic challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Union Finance Minister announced a string of stimulus packages to keep up the morale of the country and help tide over the year of the coronavirus.

Byju Raveendran

With e-learning getting a renewed push in the year of the pandemic, Byju's has grown into the world's most successful edutech start-ups with 33 million users and 2.2 million paid subscribers. Founder Byju Raveendran featured on Forbes’ India's Richest 2020 at No 46 with his wealth growing to $3.05 billion as of September 2020. The company's last funding round in September 2020 valued it at more than $10 billion. Investors include Mark Zuckerberg, Tencent and Tiger Global. Byju's has registered a cumulative 64 million downloads.

Roshini Nadar

Roshni Nadar Malhotra, in July this year, became the first woman to head a listed Indian IT company as she took over as the Chairperson of $8.9 billion HCL Technologies from her father and billionaire Shiv Nadar. She was named among the world's 100 most powerful women by Forbes 2020. 39-year-old Roshni Nadar Malhotra is the youngest woman to achieve this feat in Forbes Technology category. As per Kotak Wealth Management and Hurun India 2020 list of India's 100 richest women, Roshni is India's richest woman with a net worth of Rs 54,850 crore.

Nithin Kamath & Nikhil Kamath

Brothers Nithin, 41, and Nikhil Kamath, 34, had been active traders for over a decade. They started Zerodha, a broking platform with a flat fee that was aimed at traders. A decade on, with 3.5 million users, they are the largest brokers in the country, followed by ICICI Securities. They enter the 2020 Forbes India Rich List at rank 90 with a net wealth of $1.55 billion.

Inputs: Forbes, ey.com, company websites, PTI