Mr Rajendra S Pawar is the Chairman and Co-Founder of NIIT Limited, a global leader in skills and talent development, and founder of NIIT University.
Under his leadership, NIIT has played a key role in shaping the growth of the Indian IT sector, by creating skilled manpower to drive its momentum. Having revolutionized the IT Training industry, he is now involved in establishing an innovative model in Higher Education, the not-for-profit NIIT University.
Acknowledging Mr Pawar’s contribution to the IT industry in India, he has been awarded the country’s prestigious civilian honour, Padma Bhushan, by the President of India in 2011. Actively involved in India’s key Chambers of Commerce, he has also led several ICT industry initiatives including NASSCOM (2011-12) as its Chairman. Currently Mr Pawar is the Chairman of NASSCOM Cyber Security Task Force that has been set up in response to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision to see India emerge as a global hub of Cyber Security products and services. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Data Security Council of India.
Mr Pawar served as a member on the Prime Minister's National Council on Skill Development (2009-2014) and has also been a part of the PM's National Taskforce (1998), commissioned to develop India into an IT Superpower. He is a Fellow of the Computer Society of India and is a Distinguished Fellow of Institution of Electronics and Telecommunications Engineers.
Mr Pawar's contributions have been widely acknowledged and he has been conferred prestigious awards like- Distinguished Alumnus Award at IIT Delhi in 1995; The 'IT man of the Year' by IT industry journal, Dataquest in 1998; 'Master Entrepreneur of the Year' by Ernst & Young in 1999; Madhav Award in 1999 at the Scindia School, Gwalior. He has also been awarded with the 'Lifetime Achievement Award' at Dataquest ICT Awards 2019 in August 2020.
Known for promoting industry-academia alliances, Mr Pawar has been working closely with the country's well-known educational institutions. He is on the Board of Governors of India's premier institutions- the Indian School of Business (ISB) Hyderabad and the Scindia School. He has also served on the boards of IIT Delhi, IIM Bangalore, IIM Udaipur and has been a member of the University Court of Delhi University.
Vijay K. Thadani is the Vice Chairman & Managing Director of NIIT Ltd, a leading Global Skills and Talent Development Corporation. As the co-founder of NIIT Group, he has built an organization that is recognized for its visionary role in bringing the benefits of Information Technology, both as a professional skill and as a learning tool, to the masses.
Vijay has led the Group's globalization efforts since 1991, taking the NIIT flag to over 30 countries and has been actively engaged with many Industry Associations. He served as President of the Indian IT industry association, MAIT and as the Chairman of CII Northern Region. He has also served as the Chairman of the National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET), under the aegis of the Quality Council of India and as the Chairman of Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Allahabad.
Vijay is the co-founder of the not-for-profit NIIT University, established in 2009 with a vision of being the role model of learning, research, innovation and sustainability for the Knowledge Society.
He is currently serving as the Chairman of All India Board of Technician Education constituted by AICTE since January 2020, and also serves on the Governing Council of All India Management Association (AIMA). Till recently, he served on the Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi and as the Chairman of the Board of Governors of MN National Institute of Technology, Allahabad and CII's National Committee on Higher Education.
A 'Distinguished Alumnus' of the premier Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, Vijay was honored with the position of 'Economic Consultant' to Chongqing, World's largest city in the People's Republic of China.
Parappil Rajendran, Joint Managing Director of NIIT Ltd., is a member of the core team that developed and brought the organization to its present position of global standing, since its inception in 1981.
He received his degree in Electrical Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India in 1974 and joined KELTRON, a nascent electronic products company set up by Govt. of Kerala, where he worked for eight years. During this period he was involved in marketing, product management and sales of electronic industrial products. Later he moved into the domain of electronic automation and control of power stations.
Rajendran also serves on the Board of Management of the not-for-profit NIIT University set up in Neemrana, Rajasthan with the vision of creating the University of the Future built on the foundation of Industry-linked, Technology-based, Research-driven and Seamless learning.
He is also actively engaged with NIIT Foundation, which addresses the skilling and employability needs of youth from the underprivileged segments of the society.
Rajendran has been associated with the apex industry association, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for over a decade.
Sapnesh Lalla is the CEO and Executive Director of NIIT Ltd, a global leader in skills and talent development and a leading provider of managed training services, offering broad-based education and training solutions to corporations, institutions, and individuals in over 30 countries.
Sapnesh has served in NIIT India and USA for over 29 years. He started his journey as a Project Lead in the Learning Content Development Team and over the years, has held various Management and Leadership roles in Product Management, Customer Support, Channel Development, Sales and Support functions. He has worked on a number of critical initiatives including NIIT’s expansion into North America & Europe and has led significant acquisitions including Cognitive Arts and Element K. He was selected to the Managing Director’s Quality Club (MDQC) in 1997 and received the coveted Global Leadership Award in 2001 and 2010. In 2010, he joined the board of NIIT(USA), Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. He led the enterprise business of the company outside India and helped create and grow unique solutions in the areas of Learning content, learning administration & learning technologies. Among others, he led the conceptualization and growth of Managed Training Services outsourcing which are now being delivered to many global firms in the Fortune 500.
In 2017, Sapnesh was appointed CEO of NIIT Ltd. Since then, he has passionately driven the digital transformation of the company and the agenda to scale up the business on company’s new NIIT Digital platform.
Sapnesh is an Electronics and Communications Engineer from Bangalore University and received his Executive Education at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.
Anand Sudarshan is Founder & Director, Sylvant Advisors Private Limited, an education sector advisory & early-stage investment entity. An education sector veteran & a recognised leader, Anand serves on a number of boards, as well as government committees on policy advisory, including Technology in Education, and Corporate Engagement in Higher Education.
Anand’s prior tenure was Vice-Chairman & Managing Director of Manipal Global Education, with whom he had a distinguished career since May 2006. In 1989 Anand co-founded The Microland Group and for almost 14 years he was part of the team that built it into one of the leading privately held Indian technology companies.
Anand serves as the Chairman of FICCI’s Committee on Start-up’s and Innovation, and continues to be active in several industry bodies & charitable trusts.
Anand holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Trichy, India, and a PGDM from the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, India.
Geeta Mathur is an experienced finance professional having worked as a banker both on the asset side and risk side and with large corporate treasuries and investor relations.
She started her career with ICICI, where she worked for over 10 years in the field of project, corporate and structured finance as well represented ICICI on the Board of reputed companies such as Eicher Motors, Siel Limited etc. She then worked in various capacities in large organizations such as IBM and Emaar MGF across areas of Corporate Finance, Treasury, Risk Management and Investor relations.
She transitioned to the development sector and worked as CFO of Helpage India, one of the largest and oldest national level NPO in India working for the cause of the elderly. She brought about systemic changes in the financial management systems including transition to Oracle ERP and won several awards for presentation and transparency in presentation of Accounts during her tenure.
She currently serves as an independent director in various large organizations across manufacturing and services such as Motherson Sumi Systems Limited, JTEKT India Limited, IIFL Holdings Limited, Tata Communication Transformation Services Limited.
She co-chairs the India chapter of Women Corporate Directors Foundation, a global membership organization and community with a mission to foster a powerful, trusted community of influential women corporate directors. She is also engaged as a business engagement expert with specific projects of IPE Global, an international development consulting company providing expert technical assistance and solutions for equitable development and sustainable growth in developing countries.
She is a graduate in Commerce from Shriram College of Commerce, Delhi University and did her articleship with PriceWaterhouse while pursuing her CA.
Ravinder Singh graduated in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi. Over a career spanning 45 years he has worked in both public and private sector organisations in the areas of Financial Services, Manufacturing and Consulting.
Currently, he is working with USAID on assignments with some of the small island countries in the Pacific region to assist them to develop appropriate polices and processes to access international climate change funds.
Ravinder Singh worked with IQL, a consulting and training company in the area of Change Management and Business Processes, from 1994-2006 and was its head from 1999 to 2006. During this period, he worked closely as a consultant with the CEOs and top management of several of the best known large companies in India.
From January, 2010 to June, 2015, he was a part time consultant with the World Bank, as a member of the panel for accreditation of multilateral and national implementing entities for receiving funds for adaptation projects from the Adaptation Fund.
Ravinder Singh also worked as a Fiduciary Expert Consultant with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) from 2014 to 2016. He also undertook several assignments for the United Nations Framework for Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Asia-Pacific region, Bangkok between 2012 and 2017.
Ravinder Singh has also been a certified trainer for Motorola University for its top management programme on Six Sigma.
Ravinder Singh has been a member of the board of the National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB) of the Quality Council of India (QCI) – a body established by the Government of India in association with CII, FICCI and Assocham for three terms. He was chairman of the Accreditation Committee of NABCB from 2005 to November, 2018.
He started his career as management trainee with State Bank of India and worked for 15 years in the areas of Credit, Branch Operations and HR.
Avani Vishal Davda, a passionate business leader, has led businesses across consumer, retail and hospitality sectors. She has experience of business strategy in consumer and retail business of more than 19 years. Her strengths lie in developing business strategy and the ability to execute with a sharp focus on business sustainability through growth and profitability.
Currently, Avani is Advisor at Bain & Company and also on the board of Mahindra Logistics Limited since 2018. Earlier, she was the Managing Director of Godrej Nature’s Basket Ltd- a 100% subsidiary of Godrej Industries Ltd. and prior to that she was the Founder Chief Executive Officer of Tata Starbucks Ltd., the joint venture of Starbucks Coffee Company and Tata Global Beverages Limited (TGBL).
Her professional career took off when Avani joined the Tata Group’s coveted leadership program - Tata Administrative Service in 2002 where worked in Tata companies including TAJ Luxury Hotels, IHCL and Tata Consumer Products Ltd.
Avani featured in “ET & Spencer Stuart Women Ahead” 2019. She was nominated as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, Geneva in 2014, ranked 13 on “The Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink” list in Fortune and Food & Wine and listed in Fortune US’s annual global list of “40 under 40 leaders” in 2013.
She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Commerce with Honors (Advertising & Media) from H.R. College, University of Mumbai and Master’s degree in Management Studies (MMS) from NMIMS, University of Mumbai (Gold Medalist).
Sangita Singh is a global business leader with 30 years of experience in the technology industry. She has been instrumental in delivering hypergrowth for multi-billion-dollar businesses at IBM as General Manager, Cloud Applications, at Infosys as EVP, Healthcare & Life Sciences, and at Wipro Technologies as Chief Executive, Healthcare & Life Sciences. These positions included key technology portfolios of Applications, Cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and industries like Healthcare & Life Sciences. She has worked in New York, London and Bangalore.
Currently she is the Growth Acceleration Advisor at VIANAI, a Silicon Valley-based start-up, consulting with CIOs & CDOs in the Healthcare and Life Sciences sector, to solve complex business problems with AI and Machine Learning implementations.
Sangita brings in experience across product management, enterprise sales and marketing in the global arena and P&L management. Throughout her career, she has helped build high-performance teams and inspired them with an overarching purpose and sense of entrepreneurial spirit.
She is a Partner at Social Venture Partners, a philanthropic network that invests in collaborative solutions – building powerful relationships to tackle communities’ social challenges. She was also a board member at Infosys BPO.
Sangita has been named by Business Today as one of the 30 most powerful women in business for the years 2014 and 2015. Sangita was also recognized by World Economic Forum (WEF) as Young Global Leader in 2010 and 50 on Fast Track by India Today in 2010.
Sangita is Bachelor of Engineering in EE from the NIT, Durgapur, India.
Udai Singh Pawar did his undergraduate studies at IIT Kanpur graduating in 2005 with an Integrated Masters in Physics.
After interning at the MIT Media Lab, Boston and ARRI Cinema R&D, Munich, Udai worked at the Microsoft Research Lab in Bangalore, focusing on Technology for Education. There he earned two US patents, and published over a dozen research papers on his fieldwork in rural government schools. Microsoft USA developed one of his innovations further with his involvement, and released it commercially worldwide, as an SDK for educational software.
Shifting to film-making in 2010, he was the Chief Assistant Director to prominent filmmaker Sudhir Mishra on multiple projects, including India’s first fully-digital feature film. Following this, as Associate Director for the successful war movie ‘Airlift,’ his responsibilities included planning and execution of the scheduling and logistics, and balancing the budget against creative requirements by novel use of CGI, as well as deep logistical planning & systems that were fresh and innovative for the film industry ecosystem.
Recently, he wrote and directed the acclaimed Netflix Original film ‘Upstarts’, an in-depth look at the Bangalore start-up ecosystem, based on personal experiences as well as research and close interactions with dozens of start-up founders.
With his passion for inter-disciplinary technology and art, Udai is also involved in angel investing in some start-ups, while he works on his future film projects, focusing on OTT platforms.
Leher V Thadani has over ten years of work experience honing capabilities in diverse areas, including reputation management, crisis communications, public affairs, management consulting and client servicing. Leher is currently Associate Vice President in the Reputation Practice at Edelman India, a leading global communications firm that partners with many of the world’s largest and emerging businesses and organisations, developing integrated communications strategies and counseling clients on risk mitigation, crisis communications and stakeholder engagement. Leher’s experience in public relations and communications spans a variety of sectors, including technology, food & beverage, energy, automotive, chemicals, and government.
Prior to this, Leher was a Government Consultant with Ernst & Young’s Business Advisory Service, where she worked closely with Central and State-level government entities on trade and investment promotion, and policy and strategy development to facilitate the growth of different industries across India.
Leher has also taught Mathematics in an inner city secondary school in Baltimore, Maryland (USA), worked with microfinance companies and microinsurance organisations in USA and India, and conducted field research on public education systems in India.
Leher studied Computer Science Engineering and Anthropology at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 2007, and earned a Masters in Business Administration from George Washington University, Washington, DC.