10 Indian born Australians at the top are leading change in Australia

The Indian diaspora is now Australia’s largest migrant group – and this is showing up in leadership and change. More achievements will be ahead – but INTO INDIA now honours our “top 10”:

TARUN GUPTA, Managing Director and CEO, Stockland

Tarun Gupta, CEO, Stockland

In June 2021, Tarun Gupta joined Australia-based Stockland as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

Founded in 1952, Stockland is one of the most diversified property groups in Australia. Today, Stockland owns, develops and manages a comprehensive portfolio of residential communities, retirement living villages, workplace and logistics assets, as well as retain town centres.

Tarun Gupta has held a wide range of senior roles in the past. Previously, Gupta was the Chief Financial Officer with Lendlease.

In 1994, Tarun Gupta had come to Australia (after graduating from University of Delhi) as an international student to gain an MBA at Uni of Newcastle

Mitu Bhowmick Lange, Director of Mind Blowing Films

Mitu Bhowmick Lange

Mitu is Festival Director of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) which was established in 2010 and has become one of the biggest and most successful Indian film festivals held outside of India.

Mitu is the Director of Mind Blowing Films, a film production and distribution company that specialises in the distribution of Indian films in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. It also provides local production support to Indian films shot in Australia and New Zealand. She has also produced Spice Girls of India, which was screened at the London Feminist Film Festival.

Mitu also worked in Bombay for six years directing several TV shows including entertainment, news and fashion magazine programs and a daily breakfast show for most of the leading channels including BBC World, Star Plus, Zee TV and Sony TV. Since living in Australia, Mitu has introduced and produced several Indian productions in the country, including producing 13 episodes shot in Australia of India’s number one daily television serial Kahani Ghar Ghar Kii, Bollywood film Koi Aap Saa and blockbusters like Salaam Namaste, Chak De India and Bachna Aye Haseeno as well as several leading television commercials made for the Indian market.

In 2017, Mitu received the Jill Robb Award from Film Victoria recognising her achievements, leadership and mentorship of other women from the sector.

Mitu is a Board Member, Film Victoria, Board member, Natalie Miller Fellowship, and was educated at Hindu College, University of Delhi and gained a master’s degree at St Xavier’s College.

Distinguished Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC, incoming President, Australian Academy of Science

Nanotechnology pioneer Distinguished Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC FAA FTSE is the next President of Australia’s premier science organisation, the Australian Academy of Science. He is the first Australian of Indian heritage to take on the role.

The Academy plays an important role providing independent, authoritative and influential scientific advice to the Australian Parliament.

He is an Indian-Australian physicist and academic, a Distinguished Professor of Physics at the Australian National University Research School of Physics and Engineering. He is head of the Semiconductor Optoelectronics and Nanotechnology Group which he established in 1990.

He plays a leading role in helping Australia transition from a resource-based economy to a knowledge and technology-based economy.

Throughout his career Professor Jagadish has supervised 65 PhD students, is currently supervising a further 12 PhD students and has mentored 50 post-doctoral and other fellows, with many of them now in leading research institutions across the world.

Sanjeev Gandhi, Managing Director and CEO of Orica Limited

Sanjeev Gandhi was previously Orica’s Group Executive and President of Australia Pacific Asia, and was appointed as the Managing Director and CEO of Orica Limited in February 2021.

Mr Gandhi joined Orica in July 2020 after spending 26 years with German chemical company BASF SE, the global leader in the chemical industry.  During his tenure with BASF, he held senior marketing, commercial, business leadership and director roles, in India, Germany, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. 

Most recently, Mr Gandhi was an Executive Director of BASF SE and Head of Asia Pacific as well as Head of Global Chemicals Segment (Intermediates & Petrochemicals) based out of Hong Kong. Leading a workforce of more than 18,500 people across 19 countries, 125 production sites and 140 sales offices, Sanjeev and his team were accountable for the delivery of €13.3 billion in revenue, and €1 billion in EBIT in 2019. 

Mr Gandhi leads a global team of more than 13,000 colleagues.

Orica is the world’s largest provider of commercial explosives and innovative blasting systems to the mining, quarrying, oil and gas and construction industries. They are also a leading supplier of sodium cyanide for gold extraction, and a specialist provider of ground support services in mining and tunnelling.

Mr Gandhi gained an MBA at the Institute of Management and Entrepreneurial Development, Pune

Kaushaliya Vaghela, Member of Legislative Council, Parliament of Victoria

Kaushaliya Vaghela is the first India-born elected Member of Victorian state parliament, representing the Australian Labor Party in Victoria’s upper house.

Before being elected as an MP, Kaushaliya was working as a Risk and Compliance Manager and prior to that as a scientist in research and diagnostic laboratory.

She came to Australia as an international student to study a Master of Applied Science at RMIT in 1998.

Indians form a large community in Victoria, and she as elected an MLC for Western Metropolitan region in 2018.

Vivek Bhatia CEO Link Group

As CEO of Link Group, Vivek Bhatia leads 6000 employees in a company that administers financial ownership data and drives user engagement, analysis and insight through technology. Link provides complete solutions for companies, large asset owners and trustees across the globe.

Vivek is an experienced chief executive, having led a number of complex businesses throughout his career. Vivek joined Link Group from QBE Insurance Group where from 2018 he was Chief Executive Officer of the ASX-listed general insurance and reinsurance company’s Australia Pacific division.

Vivek joined QBE from icare where he held the position of inaugural Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director. Prior to this, he co-led the Asia-Pacific Restructuring and Transformation practice at McKinsey & Company and also previously held senior executive roles at Wesfarmers Insurance, including responsibility for leading the Australian underwriting businesses of Lumley, WFI and Coles Insurance.

Vivek holds an undergraduate degree in engineering, a post-graduate in business administration and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (ICFAI).

Sanjay Dayal CEO Pact

Sanjay Dayal became Group Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director, Executive Director of Pact in April 3, 2019. Sanjay joined Pact most recently from BlueScope Steel where he held the position of Chief Executive, Building Products, Corporate Strategy and Innovation.

Sanjay had a very successful career with Orica and ICI, including Regional General Manager for Manufacturing and Supply Chain and General Manager for the DynoNobel Integration, based out of London.

Sanjay holds a Bachelor of Technology (Chemical Engineering) from Indian Institute of Technology – Delhi.

Pact is a packaging, re-use and recycling manufacturing firm. Which recently received $20 million in funding from the Federal Government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative for Recycling and Clean Energy Manufacturing projects to support its investments in world-leading technology which will increase the amount of recycled materials in locally made plastic packaging.

The group employs around 2400 people, operates in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the United Kingdom and the United States, 

The Company designs and manufactures bottles, containers, trays, tubes, closure systems, and other customized packaging solutions. 

Ravneet Pawha, Deputy Vice President, Deakin University

Ravneet Pawha is Deakin University Deputy Vice President (Global Engagement) and CEO (South Asia). She is also President of Australia India Business Council (AIBC), Victoria.

Ravneet gained a master’s degree at Panjab University and was a gold medallist in her postgraduate studies. In 2018 she won the prestigious Business Leader of the Year at the India Australia Business and Community Awards.

With over 27 years of experience in the international education sector, Ravneet has been instrumental in establishing global collaborations and strategic partnerships. She has developed Australian Education collaborations specifically for Deakin University in India/South Asia and has contributed to the immense success globally. She is an inspirational leader and a passionate entrepreneur.

Sandeep Biswas, CEO, Newcrest Ltd

Mr Biswas was appointed Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Newcrest on 4 July 2014. He joined Newcrest in January of that year, as Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer.

Mr Biswas was previously Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Aluminium, a wholly owned subsidiary within the Rio Tinto group, which incorporated the bauxite, alumina, refining and smelting operations in Australia and New Zealand.

He began his career with Mount Isa Mines, working in both Australia and Europe. Mr Biswas has also worked for Western Mining in Australia and Rio Tinto in Canada and Australia.

He is Vice Chairman of the Minerals Council of Australia, Vice Chairman of the World Gold Council and Member of the ICMM Council.

He gained a BEng (Chem) (Hons) at the University of Queensland.

Newcrest is the largest gold producer listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and one of the world’s largest gold mining companies.

Dr Astha Singh, Senior Marketing Manager, Servers Australia

Dr Astha Singh is a Science and Technology Marketing professional with over 14 years of experience specialising in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) and has shared her innovative idea at TEDx Sydney. She currently works as a Senior Marketing Manager at a Cloud Hosting Technology company called Servers Australia. 

Astha has initiated and implemented several STEM focussed multicultural marketing campaigns in her career with programs and organisations such as FameLab, Soapbox Science, Sydney Science Festival, Spark Festival (Australia’s largest festival for entrepreneurship) and at iAccelerate (Australia’s largest University business incubator).

Astha led a nation-wide campaign in 2019 to raise awareness for Diversity in STEM with over 30 top scientists around Australia featured on the Australia’s Science Channel. With her particular interest in diversity & equity, Astha has served as the advisory board member at Multicultural NSW, Australian Football League, NSW. Continuing her passion for highlighting South-Asian talent in STEM, Astha was the STEM ambassador for the Australia India Business and Community Awards 2020-21.

Currently Astha serves as a mentor for commercial research at the CSIRO’s ON Accelerator and DStart programs. 

Author: Stephen Manallack

Former President, Australia India Business Council, Victoria and Author, You Can Communicate; Riding the Elephant; Soft Skills for a Flat World (published by Tata McGraw-Hill INDIA); Communicating Your Personal Brand. Director, EastWest Academy Pty Ltd and Trainer/Speaker/Mentor in Leadership, Communication and Cross Cultural Communication. Passionate campaigner for closer western relations with India. Stephen Manallack is a specialist on “Doing Business with India” and advisor/trainer on “Cross-Cultural Understanding”. He is a Director of EastWest Academy Pty Ltd which provides strategic advice and counsel regarding business relations with India. A regular speaker in India on leadership and global communication, his most recent speaking tour included a speech to students of the elite Indian university, Amity University, in Noida. He also spoke at a major Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) global summit, the PR Consultants Association of India in Delhi, the Symbiosis University in Pune and Cross-Cultural Training for Sundaram Business Services in Chennai. He has visited India on business missions on 10 occasions and led three major trade missions there. He provides cross-cultural training – Asia and the west.

2 thoughts on “10 Indian born Australians at the top are leading change in Australia”

  1. Hi

    I have Australia’s PR but due to my ersonal resons came to India.

    Venkat Ramachandrarao Botta


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