TOP 20 STARTUP CHROs IN INDIA 2024

Step into the world of innovation and leadership as we spotlight the top 20 Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs) steering the growth of India’s leading startups in 2024. Uncover the unique strategies and progressive initiatives these visionaries employ to foster a culture of innovation, diversity, and employee well-being. Join us in celebrating the individuals shaping the future of work and redefining the norms of HR within the dynamic startup ecosystem.

TOP 10 STARTUP CHROs IN INDIA 2024

11. Ankur Sharma

Ankur Sharma, the current Head of Human Resources at Aye Finance, has cultivated an impressive career trajectory spanning various roles and industries. Holding this position since February 2018, Ankur has played a pivotal role in steering the HR functions for Aye Finance Pvt. Ltd. Based in New Delhi, India, Aye Finance has achieved notable recognitions under his leadership, including being ranked the 2nd Best Great Place to Work in India in 2022 and consistently securing top positions in various BFSI and workplace rankings.

Before joining Aye Finance, Ankur served as the Lead for Performance and Total Rewards at Raymond Limited in Mumbai. In this role, he led performance management, total rewards, and policy formulation for diverse companies under the Raymond Group, demonstrating his versatility across sectors.

Ankur’s experience also includes serving as the HR Transformation Lead at SLK (SL Kirloskar) Group in Bengaluru, where he managed end-to-end design, ownership, and program management for HR activities. His strategic contributions extended to leading HR transformation initiatives across the organization.

Earlier in his career, Ankur held managerial positions, notably as HR Business Partner at Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories in Hyderabad. Here, he managed the entire employee life cycle, defined culture statements, and proposed and implemented key initiatives for the research and development sector.

Ankur’s professional journey exhibits his diverse expertise, ranging from roles at Cisco Systems in Bangalore as part of the HR Leadership Program to serving as a Senior Business Analyst at Evalueserve in New Delhi, where he focused on market entry strategy reports for automotive companies.

An alumnus of XLRI Jamshedpur, where he earned his MBA in Human Resource Management, Ankur actively contributed to the entrepreneurial ecosystem as the Co-founder of GetMyStuff, an online shopping portal. His engagement in various leadership roles at XLRI, such as the Head of the Entrepreneurship Cell and Founder of the Industry Interaction Cell, reflects his commitment to fostering a holistic learning environment.

Ankur’s earlier academic journey includes a Master’s in Commerce with a focus on International Business Operations from IG University and a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Delhi College of Engineering. His achievements also include founding and heading initiatives like ‘India’s First Solar Car’ project during his undergraduate studies, showcasing his early commitment to sustainability and innovation.

12. Amrit Jaidka Arora

Amrit Jaidka Arora is a seasoned professional currently serving as the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) at Digit Insurance, a prominent insurtech start-up backed by Fairfax. In this role, which she has held since April 2017, Amrit has played a pivotal role in shaping the company’s human resources strategies. Digit Insurance is on a mission to simplify insurance for people by developing transparent and straightforward products and services that cater to the actual needs of consumers.

Prior to her tenure at Digit Insurance, Amrit showcased her expertise as a Consultant & Entrepreneur from January 2011 to January 2017, operating in the dynamic landscape of New Delhi, India. Her entrepreneurial spirit and consulting acumen contributed to her well-rounded professional profile.

Amrit’s journey in human resources includes a significant tenure as the General Manager Human Resource at Hindustan Times, a leading media organization, from December 2006 to July 2010. Before this, she served as the Zonal Manager Human Resource – North & East at Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Co. Ltd. for three years, showcasing her versatility in managing human capital across different industries.

Educationally, Amrit holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Human Resources Management and Services from IIMM Pune, where she honed her skills and knowledge in HR practices. Additionally, she pursued Masters in Labour Law & Labour Welfare from Symbiosis Law College, indicating her commitment to specialized areas within the field.

Amrit initiated her academic journey with an Economic Honors degree from Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Sector-11, setting a strong foundation for her subsequent achievements. With a career spanning diverse sectors and a robust educational background, Amrit Jaidka Arora stands out as a CHRO with a rich blend of experience and expertise in navigating the intricacies of human resources management.

13. Seema Vijay Singh

Seema Vijay Singh is an accomplished professional currently holding the position of Head of People & Culture, and Cognitive Diversity Champion at MediBuddy. With an impressive career spanning over two decades, Seema has been a driving force in the field of human resources and organizational development. Her current role at MediBuddy involves spearheading initiatives related to people and culture, aligning the workforce with the company’s goals. Additionally, she serves as a Co-Founder and Board Member at Niyoto, contributing her strategic insights to the organization’s growth since August 2021.

Prior to her current roles, Seema has been a dedicated advisor and coach to founders, playing a crucial role in organizational design for various startups and non-profit organizations from June 2016 to May 2023. She was an integral part of Project StepOne, a volunteer effort focused on creating a telemedicine platform to aid governments in managing the impact of Covid-19. Seema has also held influential positions in globally recognized companies such as InMobi and Amazon, where she served as the Global Head of People Operations and Head of HR for Amazon.in, respectively.

Her career trajectory includes being part of the core team that worked on launching and scaling Amazon in India, showcasing her leadership capabilities. Seema’s professional journey began with roles at esteemed companies like Virgin Mobile India, Lucent Technologies (later acquired by Alcatel-Lucent), Hewlett Packard, and Microland Ltd, where she developed a strong foundation in human resources and management.

Seema Vijay Singh holds an MBA in HR from Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya, reflecting her commitment to continuous learning and professional development. Beyond her corporate engagements, she has actively participated in volunteering activities, as evidenced by her role as Lucent Foundation India Lead at Alcatel-Lucent from January 2005 to February 2007. In this capacity, she not only led Lucent’s employee volunteer effort but also played a crucial role in steering Lucent Foundation’s India projects.

In summary, Seema Vijay Singh’s multifaceted career, marked by leadership roles in both corporate and startup environments, showcases her prowess in people management, strategic consulting, and organizational development. Her holistic approach to fostering cognitive diversity and her passion for contributing to societal well-being through volunteering underscore her as a noteworthy figure in the realm of human resources and beyond.

14. Payal Nambiar

Payal Nambiar, currently serving as the Head of HR at Spinny, is a highly accomplished HR professional with an impressive career spanning over 17 years. She has demonstrated her expertise in HR Strategy, Business Partnering, HR Operations, and Transformation & Automation across both established and new-age companies. Payal has held key positions in renowned organizations such as Metro Cash & Carry India, Arvind Fashions Limited, Vodafone, Samsung Electronics, Everest Group, Genpact, and Times Internet.

In her most recent role as Senior Vice President & Head HR at Spinny since September 2022, Payal has contributed to the company’s success by implementing cutting-edge people practices and fostering high-performing cultures. Her prior role as Senior Vice President Human Resources at METRO Cash & Carry India showcased her ability to elevate the brand to become a leading Employer of Choice.

Throughout her career, Payal has been recognized for her achievements and was awarded the Top 100 HR Super Achiever at the ETHR Congress in 2018. She has also actively participated as a speaker in roundtable conferences and panel discussions, contributing to the awareness of new-age HR practices. Payal holds a Master’s in Human Resources Management (MHRM) from the Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad, and a BSc. in Management from ITM Group of Institutions, providing a strong educational foundation to complement her wealth of professional experience. With her extensive background and multifaceted skills, Payal Nambiar stands out as a leader in the field of Human Resources.

15. Mitali Chitnis

Mitali Chitnis, the Head of Human Resources at Fisdom, is a seasoned HR professional with over 16 years of experience in developing and implementing HR strategies across various functions. Her expertise includes leveraging analytical skills for monitoring, analyzing, and identifying strategic needs, as well as developing effective talent pipelines for immediate hires based on succession planning needs. Mitali has consistently delivered year-on-year business goals at Fisdom, Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd, Mirae Asset Investment Managers (India), ASK Group, and other prestigious organizations.

In her current role at Fisdom since August 2023, Mitali oversees the HR function, partnering with the business end-to-end and influencing management and leadership on people agenda and issues. She is well-versed in change management projects, making organizations future-ready through people development initiatives. Mitali possesses hands-on experience in analytics and industry benchmarking and has successfully curated and executed employee value propositions to attract and retain talent through various HR strategies.

Before joining Fisdom, Mitali held key positions such as Head of Human Resources – Private Wealth Management at Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd, Head Of Human Resources at Mirae Asset Investment Managers (India), and Senior Manager Human Resources at ASK Group. She has also contributed her HR expertise to organizations like Reliance Capital | Reliance Group, Mahindra & Mahindra Limited, ZEE NETWORK LIMITED, Housefull International Ltd, HDFC Limited, and Godfrey Phillips India Ltd.

Mitali Chitnis holds a Master’s in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations (MPMIR) from Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women’s University, Mumbai. Her diverse experience and comprehensive skill set make her a valuable leader in the field of Human Resources.

16. Arun Kumar

Arun Kumar, a distinguished professional currently associated with Shipsy as the Mentor/Chief People Officer, boasts a rich and accomplished career spanning over six decades. With a solid foundation in his educational pursuits, Arun earned a Master’s in Business Administration from the prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, during 1974-1976. Later, he pursued another Master’s in Business Administration with a focus on Leadership from Indiana University – Kelley School of Business, solidifying his academic prowess. Arun’s journey in the corporate world began at Firestone Industrial/Bridgestone Americas, where he dedicated an impressive 22 years, from May 1992 to March 2015. During this extensive tenure, he served in various capacities, ultimately reaching the position of Managing Director – Asia. His role involved overseeing operations and contributing to the growth and success of the organization.

Subsequently, Arun ventured into the realm of consultancy and advisory services, serving as a Former Advisor at McKinsey & Company for six years, from April 2015 to April 2021. His strategic insights and leadership skills contributed to McKinsey’s success. Currently serving as the Mentor/Chief People Officer at Shipsy since May 2017, Arun plays a pivotal role in shaping the company’s human resources landscape. Shipsy, a technology-driven platform, benefits from Arun’s wealth of experience, as he guides the HR function and contributes to the company’s overall growth. His association with prestigious organizations like McKinsey and Bridgestone underlines his commitment to excellence, leadership, and continuous learning. Arun Kumar’s academic achievements, coupled with his extensive professional journey, position him as a seasoned leader with a profound impact on the organizations he has been a part of.

17. Abhishek Mehrotra

Abhishek Mehrotra, a seasoned Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) currently serving at Yubi, stands as an accomplished HR leader with a remarkable two-decade journey across the Technology & Engineering/R&D and Social Media domains. His illustrious career reflects a multifaceted leadership style, showcasing expertise across various HR functions, including Business Partnering, Learning & Development (L&D), Compensation & Benefits (C&B), Talent Acquisition (TA), Operations, and Compliances.

In his current role as CHRO at Yubi since January 2022, Abhishek has been instrumental in driving the human resources strategy for the organization. Yubi’s focus on revolutionizing the debt platform globally aligns with Abhishek’s passion for fostering a culture of innovation through simplified work practices. The company’s recent achievement of securing India’s largest Series A funding worth USD 90 Million attests to its commitment to transforming the debt markets.

Prior to Yubi, Abhishek served as the Region HR Leader for TikTok at ByteDance, covering India and South East Asia. During his tenure from June 2020 to January 2022, Abhishek played a key role in shaping the people and culture strategy for TikTok in diverse markets, including Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, and Mainland China. ByteDance’s status as the world’s most valuable start-up and TikTok’s position as a leading destination for short-form mobile video underscores Abhishek’s contribution to organizational growth and fostering an exceptional work culture.

Before ByteDance, Abhishek served as Vice President & Head Human Resources at Huawei Technologies, leading the HR department for Huawei’s largest overseas R&D center in Bengaluru. With over 4000 engineers under his purview, Abhishek contributed significantly to product development strategy, roadmap, and solutions across ICT, Consumer Devices, and next-gen technologies during his tenure from March 2017 to May 2020.

Abhishek’s journey also includes leadership roles at Alcatel Lucent India, IBM, Hughes BPO Services, and various other reputable organizations. His academic background is noteworthy, with a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Leadership from Indiana University – Kelley School of Business.

As an Angel Investor at Inflection Point Ventures since February 2021, Abhishek extends his expertise to contribute to the growth and success of start-ups. His holistic approach to HR leadership, from crisis management to M&A involvement, reflects his commitment to creating innovative and engaging workplaces. Abhishek Mehrotra emerges as a distinguished HR professional, leaving an indelible mark on every organization he has been a part of.

18. Richa Ranjan

Richa Ranjan, currently serving as the Director HR at Money View, boasts over 12 years of enriched experience covering nearly every facet of the Human Resources domain. Her proven competence extends to establishing HR functions in startups, showcasing expertise in Talent Acquisition (TA), Manpower Planning, Compensation & Rewards, Business Partnering, HR Operations, Policies, HR Strategy, Team Development, Performance Management Systems (PMS), Payroll, and the Automation of HR processes.

In her role at Money View since April 2016, Richa has played a pivotal role in the organization’s growth, building the team size from 20 to over 1000 and establishing the entire HR processes from scratch. Her strategic approach aligns HR with business goals, contributing significantly to the success of the company.

Before joining Money View, Richa worked with Hirepro Consulting Pvt. Ltd. for over five years (from April 2011 to April 2016) as a Senior HR Consultant. During this period, she operated in the Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) model, handling HR operations and lateral and campus hiring for clients such as Microsoft Corp., Vedantu, SAP Labs, Ebay.inc, and TaxiForSure.com. Her expertise lies in recruitment, HR operations, and setting up HR processes in startups.

Richa’s experience with Microsoft, as a Human Resources Consultant on a contract basis from January 2016 to April 2016, involved handling lateral recruitment for multiple business units across different time zones. At Vedantu, where she served as Recruitment Manager from May 2015 to January 2016, Richa was instrumental in building the team size from 25 to 200, handling campus and lateral recruitment, and setting up initial HR processes for the company.

Her stint at eBay as University Relations from February 2014 to January 2015 involved end-to-end recruitment for campus hiring and HR operations of the University Team. Richa also contributed to branding programs and vendor management for ordering goodies.

Richa’s academic background is as commendable as her professional journey. She holds an MBA in Human Resource from the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (IBS Kolkata), specializing in Human Resource Management. She is also a science graduate from Chhatrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj University, having completed her B.Sc in Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics.

In conclusion, Richa Ranjan emerges as a dynamic HR professional with a diverse skill set and a track record of success in building and optimizing HR functions, particularly in the startup ecosystem. Her strategic acumen and hands-on experience position her as a valuable asset in driving organizational growth and fostering a positive work culture.

19. Salil Chinchore

Salil Chinchore, a seasoned Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) with a distinguished career spanning 25 years, is currently steering the human resources function at ElasticRun. His rich and diverse experience extends to General Management and has been consistently marked by high ratings and rewarding assignments.

In his role as the Chief Human Resources Officer at ElasticRun since August 2022, Salil has showcased his prowess in various HR dimensions, including Organization Strategy & Design, Talent & Leadership Development, Employee Engagement, Global HR, Labor Relations & Collective Bargaining, Change Management, and Mergers & Acquisitions.

Prior to his current role, Salil served as the Head of Human Resources at Godrej Agrovet Limited from July 2017 to August 2022. Leading a robust HR team of 30 professionals, he played a pivotal role in enhancing the effectiveness of HR and talent practices. His strategic partnership with the senior leadership contributed to achieving business objectives and building organizational and talent capability.

Before Godrej Agrovet, Salil held the position of President – HR at Pidilite Industries Limited from January 2016 to June 2017, where he spearheaded HR for the renowned Indian multinational.

Salil’s experience also includes a stint as the Director – Human Resources at TE Connectivity from June 2014 to January 2016. In this role, he had overall responsibility for driving TE India’s growth strategy from an HR perspective, with a focus on staffing, talent acquisition, retention, training & development, and industrial relations.

His impactful contributions were recognized when he was conferred as one of the Most Influential 100 HR Professionals in Asia by the Asia Pacific HRM Congress in September 2015.

Salil Chinchore has an impressive track record as Vice President – HR at Mondelēz International from April 2011 to June 2014. In this role, he served as the HR Business Lead for India Technical Functions, overseeing Supply Chain, Projects, and R&D with a team of 30+ HR professionals. His strategic deployment of HR levers significantly supported the organization’s 25%+ YoY growth.

Prior to Mondelēz International, Salil held the position of Associate Vice President – HR at Cadbury plc. from May 2009 to June 2011. In this role, he served as the HR Business Lead for Integrated Supply Chain and Projects, managing a team of 25+ HR professionals and overseeing corporate employee relations for all manufacturing units in India.

Salil began his professional journey at Asian Paints, where he held various roles from Personnel Manager to Chief Manager-Human Resources, playing a key role in HR and ER strategy, employee engagement, health and hygiene standards, collective bargaining, and corporate responsibility projects.

His educational background includes an MA in PM & IR (Personnel Management & Industrial Relations) from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), where he actively participated in community work, headed the Placement Committee, and contributed to cultural fests. Salil completed his graduation with a BA in Economics with Distinction from Fergusson College after excelling in SSC at Abhinav High School, Pune.

In conclusion, Salil Chinchore stands as a seasoned HR professional and leader, contributing significantly to the growth and success of the organizations he has been associated with throughout his illustrious career. His strategic thinking, leadership capabilities, and diverse expertise make him a valuable asset in the field of Human Resources and General Management.

20. Smriti Handa

Smriti Handa, currently serving as the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) at BharatPe, is a transformative leader dedicated to impactful business partnering infused with passion, purpose, and entrepreneurship. With nearly two decades of experience, Smriti has demonstrated her expertise in various HR domains, contributing significantly to the success and growth of the organizations she has been associated with.

In her role as the CHRO at BharatPe since April 2022, Smriti has been instrumental in driving business impact through strategic HR initiatives. Her focus on business partnering, combined with a passion for excellence, has contributed to the development of future leadership within the organization.

Prior to joining BharatPe, Smriti served as the Global Talent Acquisition Director at Reckitt for nearly three years, from May 2021 to March 2022. In this role, she played a pivotal role in remodelling the Talent Acquisition organization from a decentralized region-led structure to a centralized globally-driven Center of Excellence (CoE). She led a team of 80 members across geographies, transforming Talent Acquisition by reinventing policies, processes, and technology. Her efforts resulted in a more efficient and globally aligned recruitment function.

Before Reckitt, Smriti held the position of Regional HR Director for South Asia at an organization for two years, from June 2019 to May 2021. She managed HR for commercial business, Supply Chain/Factory, Shared Services, and R&D across India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. Her responsibilities included designing and executing HR strategy aligned with global frameworks and strengthening the organization’s learning culture.

During her five-year tenure at Philips, where she served from June 2014 to May 2019, Smriti held various leadership roles. As the Head of HR for Philips Health Systems & Emerging Businesses, South East Asia, she led two cycles of high-growth India business. Her accomplishments included conceptualizing and delivering a transformational strategy for sales organization redesign, implementing a GTM plan, and managing the smooth integration of employees post-acquisition.

Smriti also served as the Head of Talent Acquisition, Employer Brand & Campus Engagement, India Operations at Airtel for three years from April 2011 to May 2014. In this role, she was highly engaged with volume and quality hiring, process streamlining, B-School campus engagement, and employer brand management. Her contributions were critical given Airtel’s wide expanse.

Her educational background includes a PGDBM/MBA in Human Resources & Marketing from the Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, and a B.Com (Hons) with a focus on Human Resources & Marketing from Shri Ram College of Commerce.

Smriti Handa stands out as a dynamic HR leader with a proven track record of driving positive change and building future-ready organizations through strategic HR interventions. Her passion for excellence, purpose-driven approach, and entrepreneurial mindset make her a valuable asset in the field of Human Resources.

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