“I chose to be a working wife and mother. Why should I compromise on either?” ~ Chanda Kochhar, CEO of ICICI Bank

Summary: As boss of the country’s largest private-sector lender, Chanda Kochhar has to contend with the current bane of India’s banking system: bad loans. While the bank reported a double-digit increase in consolidated assets to $135 billion in 2015, net earnings didn’t rise as much, due to huge provisions for bad debts. In January it launched its Express Home Loan service offering mortgages online with approval in 8 hours. Mobile banking, among Kochhar’s pet projects, accounts for one-fifth of all transactions by retail customers, worth an estimated $12 billion in the year ended March 2016. In a bid to retain female staff, she launched iWork@home, which allows employees to work from home for a year. In addition, executives can take children under the age of 3 on business trips, with a caregiver, at the bank’s expense.

Nationality: Indian

Company: ICICI Bank

Net worth: 3.3 Million USD (2017)

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring CEOs? on shethepeople.com

A: I always believe that, as you start out, while you should have a big dream – a big goal – but it’s also important to move step by step. So, you know, frankly, if you ask me, when I started as a management trainee in 1984, I don’t know that I really thought that I would become the CEO.