Former SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya to be CEO of Salesforce India

Former State Bank of India (SBI) chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya will lead the India operations of Salesforce, one of the world’s leaders in customer relationship management (CRM) software.
The $17-billion US company announced on Tuesday that Bhattacharya, who retired from India’s biggest bank in October 2017, will join on April 20 as chairperson and CEO for India. Bhattacharya served SBI for 40 years, after joining the bank as a probationary officer. In 2016, she was listed as the 25th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.
“Arundhati is an incredible business leader and we are delighted to welcome her to Salesforce as chairperson and CEO India,” said Gavin Patterson, president & CEO of Salesforce International.
“India is an important growth market for Salesforce and a world-class innovation and talent hub and Arundhati’s leadership will guide our next phase of growth, customer success and investment in the region,” he said.
Bhattacharya said Salesforce is a company with an impressive track record in supporting the digital transformation of its customers with world class technology and there is an incredible opportunity for future growth in India.
“Salesforce has also shown that it is guided by a core set of values and a mission to do good in the world and I could not be more excited to join the Salesforce team to ensure we capture this tremendous opportunity and contribute to India’s development and growth story in a meaningful way,” she said in a press statement.
Bhattacharya will report to Ulrik Nehammer, general manager APAC. The company said she will oversee the growth strategy of the company and play an integral role in defining Salesforce’s relationship with the ecosystem of customers, partners and community.
Rod Bourgeois, head of research in DeepDive Equity Research, said, “Salesforce is a powerhouse in the massive trend toward cloud-based software, and hiring Bhattacharya to run Salesforce’s India operations is a significant event. It shows the integral importance of Indian talent to Salesforce AND to the overall tech sector.”
Bhattacharya grew up in Bokaro Steel City, where her father was an engineer, and graduated from Lady Brabourne College in Kolkata in 1977. One of the biggest challenges during her chairmanship of SBI was the Delhi-mandated merger of SBI’s five associate banks.
Salesforce was a pioneer in offering CRM on the cloud, and as companies increasingly shift workloads to the cloud, Salesforce’s revenue is surging. Revenue grew by 29% in fiscal 2020, and 27% in the year before. The company has not disclosed India numbers, but said it has been scaling rapidly in the country. “Leading Indian companies, such as CEAT, redBus, and Franklin Templeton, use Salesforce to connect with their customers in a whole new way,” it said.
Salesforce has invested significantly in India over many years. In 2016, it opened a new centre of excellence in Hyderabad and expects to add 3,000 jobs across the region over the next three years, “making India a leading global talent and innovation hub for the company.”

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