TOP 40 STARTUP CHROs IN INDIA 2024

Step into the world of innovation and leadership as we spotlight the top 30 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

TOP 20 STARTUP CHROs IN INDIA 2024

TOP 30 STARTUP CHROs IN INDIA 2024

31. Manav Jain

Manav Jain is a dynamic individual with a diverse background encompassing entrepreneurship, human resources leadership, and significant contributions to tech-driven hiring platforms. He is currently serving as the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) at LocoNav, based in Gurugram, Haryana, India, where he brings his extensive experience and expertise in driving the people agenda and leading organizational transformation.

Before joining LocoNav, Manav co-founded HYRR, a next-gen short video-based hiring platform aimed at revolutionizing the traditional hiring process by minimizing reliance on CVs. His entrepreneurial journey also includes co-founding UniHyr, a SaaS-enabled integrated hiring platform focused on solving fundamental hiring problems for founders and growth-stage organizations in India.

Manav has also held significant HR leadership roles at industry-leading companies such as Paytm, Microsoft, and Coromandel International Limited (part of the Murugappa Group). At Paytm, he led the business HR and talent agenda for all Paytm group entities, playing a crucial role in building the HR organization and defining talent management processes to facilitate rapid organizational scale-up. Similarly, at Microsoft, Manav served as a Program Manager, focusing on performance and talent management for Services Global Delivery business units.

His tenure at Coromandel International Limited, spanning nearly a decade, showcased his versatility across various HR and business roles, including heading HR for the Crop Protection business, leading HR integration for acquisitions, and managing retail operations for the Lifestyle vertical.

Manav is a graduate of XLRI Jamshedpur, where he completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations (PGD PMIR). He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Panjab University and has undergone advanced management and leadership development programs at the Asian Institute of Management.

Outside of his professional pursuits, Manav is a doting father, adventure sports enthusiast, amateur photographer, entrepreneur, and TEDx speaker. His multifaceted interests and experiences reflect his passion for life and continuous learning.

32. Arun Verma

Arun Verma is a seasoned Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) with an illustrious career spanning various renowned organizations across industries. Currently serving at Servify as the CHRO and Senior Vice President of HR & Admin, Arun is responsible for enhancing the people experience, capability development, and shaping the future workforce across three continents. Servify is a tech-driven unified intelligent platform that integrates multiple partners of the after-sales service ecosystem, providing device management services and warranty solutions across Asia, North America, and Europe.

Before his tenure at Servify, Arun held the position of CHRO at Brightstar India (Beetel Teletech), where he was instrumental in people management and capability development across offices in India, including the company’s manufacturing facility. Brightstar/Beetel is a leading company in the sales and distribution of consumer lifestyle products, communication and media devices, enterprise solutions, and IT products.

Prior to Brightstar, Arun served in leadership roles at Xerox India Limited, where he contributed significantly to the establishment of global delivery centers and spearheaded the people’s agenda for the sales and distribution organization. He played a pivotal role in setting up the R&D Center in Bangalore, the Xerox Information Management Center (XIM) in Gurugram, and the Asia Procurement Office in Chennai.

Arun’s journey also includes enriching experiences at prestigious organizations such as McKinsey & Company, where he served as the head of HR for three service lines, and Reliance Life Insurance and Reliance Mutual Fund, where he held regional HR manager and HR manager roles, respectively.

His educational background includes an MBA in Human Resources and Personnel Management from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune, and a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical from BIT, Mesra.

Arun Verma’s extensive experience, coupled with his strategic insights and leadership prowess, underscores his prowess as a transformative HR leader in the corporate landscape.

33. Ankit Kothari

Ankit Kothari, an accomplished HR professional, currently serves as the Assistant Vice President (AVP) of HR at FlexiLoans, a prominent digital lending platform in India. With over 11 years of experience in consulting and corporate HR roles, Ankit possesses a deep understanding of HR challenges and opportunities, particularly in the fast-paced fintech and e-commerce sectors.

In his current role at FlexiLoans, Ankit leads the HR and Admin functions, overseeing various aspects such as talent acquisition, talent development, workforce planning, and collaborative leadership. He has successfully built HR teams from scratch, hired across both tech and non-tech roles, and implemented policies and processes aimed at fostering a culture of innovation, collaboration, and performance.

Prior to his role at FlexiLoans, Ankit served as the People Ops Lead for Branch International, where he played a pivotal role in setting up the India HR function. His responsibilities included hiring across different teams, managing remote engagement, policy-making, and performance management systems.

Before Branch International, Ankit held the position of Senior Manager – HR and Admin at ExBorders.com, a global e-commerce organization, where he led the HR and Admin team. He was responsible for HR operations, talent acquisition, talent development, employee engagement, organization development, grievance management, and policy development.

Ankit’s journey in the HR domain also includes stints at renowned organizations such as the Kalpataru Group and Shapoorji Pallonji Group, where he gained valuable experience in various aspects of HR, including L&D activities, stakeholder management, and communications.

Ankit holds an MBA in Human Resources from NL Dalmia Institute of Management Studies and Research and has completed an Executive Development Program in Human Resource Management from XLRI Jamshedpur. He also holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Mithibai College, Mumbai University.

With his rich experience, strategic mindset, and commitment to fostering positive work environments, Ankit Kothari continues to make significant contributions to the HR landscape in India.

34. Priyanka Chadha Pathak

Priyanka Chadha Pathak is a seasoned HR professional with extensive experience in managing human resources in the financial services, IT, and ITES industries. She possesses a diverse skill set including talent management, performance management, personnel management, employee engagement, and HRIS (Human Resources Information Systems).

Currently, Priyanka serves as the Chief Human Resources Officer at Profectus Capital Pvt. Ltd, where she is responsible for overseeing various HR functions. Prior to her current role, she held the position of Associate Partner and Chief People Officer at Protium, where she played a crucial role in shaping the organization’s HR strategies and initiatives.

Before joining Protium, Priyanka served in key HR leadership roles at prominent organizations such as InCred Financial Services and Religare Finvest Limited. During her tenure at these companies, she demonstrated her expertise in managing regional HR functions, talent acquisition, and employee engagement.

Priyanka’s journey in the HR domain began at Mphasis, where she started as a Senior Executive and gradually progressed to the role of Assistant Manager. She also gained valuable experience at companies like Patni Computer Systems Ltd, where she worked as an Assistant Manager in Compensation & Benefits.

Priyanka holds a PGDM specializing in Human Resources from Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development. She also completed her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Lady Shri Ram College for Women.

With her strong background in HR and proven track record of success, Priyanka Chadha Pathak continues to make significant contributions to the organizations she serves, driving talent strategies that align with business objectives and foster employee growth and development.

35. Sheetal Bhanot

Sheetal Bhanot is a highly experienced HR specialist with over 20 years of expertise across various sectors including Hospitality, BFSI (Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance), FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods), Manufacturing, and Pharma Consulting. She holds a strong track record of providing strategic leadership and aligning HR practices with business growth objectives.

Currently serving as the Chief Human Resources Officer at Infra.Market, Sheetal is responsible for driving HR strategies that support the company’s expansion plans and change management initiatives. She has a wealth of experience in organization transition and has played a key role in aligning HR functions with business strategy and culture building.

Before joining Infra.Market, Sheetal held significant leadership positions in renowned organizations. As the Senior Vice President of Group HR at Edelweiss Financial Services Limited, she contributed to the development of HR policies and initiatives that fostered employee engagement and organizational effectiveness.

Prior to her role at Edelweiss, Sheetal served as the Head of Human Resources for South Asia at IMS Health, where she managed HR operations and implemented talent management strategies.

Sheetal’s journey in HR leadership began at Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, where she held various positions including Director of Human Resources for Ginger Hotels and Regional Manager of Human Resources.

Sheetal holds a Master’s degree in Industrial Psychology and Organizational Behavior from the Department of Applied Psychology, Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She also completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from SIES College.

With her extensive experience and deep understanding of HR practices, Sheetal Bhanot continues to make significant contributions to the organizations she serves, driving HR initiatives that support business growth and enhance employee engagement and satisfaction.

36. Meha Gupta Teotia

Meha (Meha Gupta) Teotia is a seasoned HR professional with over 13 years of experience in Human Resource Management (HRM). She is currently serving as the Vice President of Human Resources at Farmley, based in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India. Meha has a strong belief in the value of human capital as the greatest asset of any organization, which can provide sustainable differentiation from competitors. She sees herself as a nurturer and facilitator of this potent energy within the organization, aligning it to achieve the company’s vision.

In her current role at Farmley, Meha is responsible for a wide range of HR functions including employee coaching and mentoring, HR policy formation and implementation, brand building, induction and orientation, employee engagement, payroll administration, grievance resolution, HR compliance, vendor management, performance management and development, HR management information systems (MIS) and dashboard, internal communication, and business process optimization.

Prior to her role at Farmley, Meha held significant HR positions at various organizations. She served as the HR Head at Titan Biotech Ltd., leading the HR department of a group company with subsidiaries in the fertilizer/agrochemicals, healthcare supplements, biotechnology, and laboratory chemicals sectors. She also worked as an HR Manager at AAJ Enterprises, where she managed payroll processing, talent acquisition, employee grievances, expense and vendor payments, employee life cycle documentation, HR policy implementation, and performance management systems.

Before that, Meha worked as an HR Manager at Titan Biotech Ltd., where she was involved in overall planning for corporate/plant HR activities, recruitment and staffing, payroll processing, statutory compliance, compensation and benefits, manpower planning, industrial relations, safety and security management, employee engagement, and welfare activities.

Meha’s educational background includes a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a specialization in Human Resources Management and Services from Jayoti Vidyapeeth Women’s University in Jaipur. She also holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) in Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics from Hindu College, as well as completing her 12th-grade education in Science from Methodist Girls Inter College in Moradabad.

With her extensive experience and strong educational foundation, Meha is well-equipped to drive HR initiatives that support organizational growth, employee engagement, and talent development at Farmley.

37. Lebana Penkar

Lebana Penkar’s professional journey unfolds as a testament to her exceptional leadership and strategic prowess in the realm of Human Resources. With a robust background in HR leadership across diverse industries, Lebana currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Arrivae, India’s premier digitally integrated Full Home Interior Solutions Company. In this capacity, she orchestrates transformative changes, leveraging her extensive experience to drive innovative HR initiatives and infuse technology-driven practices into the organizational framework. Her role extends beyond traditional HR functions, positioning her as a key architect of organizational growth and profitability through strategic alignment of people strategies with business imperatives.

Prior to her tenure at Arrivae, Lebana held pivotal roles in renowned organizations, each marked by her strategic vision and transformative leadership. As the Chief Human Resources Officer at FOODLINK SERVICES (INDIA) PRIVATE LIMITED, she spearheaded initiatives ranging from culture transformation to talent acquisition, positioning HR as a catalyst for organizational success. Her tenure at Adfactors PR as the Vice President of Human Resources showcased her proficiency in strategic HR planning, talent management, and organizational development, underscoring her ability to drive impactful change across diverse sectors.

Lebana’s journey into the hospitality sector further exemplifies her versatility and adaptability. Her role as the Director of Training & Talent Development at Sofitel Luxury Hotels Asia Pacific involved strategic pre-opening setups of luxury hotels, where she played a pivotal role in driving operational excellence and fostering a culture of innovation. Her impact resonated across global brands like JW Marriott and Le Royal Meridien, Mumbai, where she showcased her multifaceted skills in training, talent development, and organizational leadership.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Lebana’s academic credentials reflect her commitment to excellence and continuous learning. With a PGDM in HR and a Master’s degree in English Literature from Mumbai University, she combines theoretical knowledge with practical expertise to drive impactful HR strategies. Additionally, her certifications in training and development underscore her dedication to staying abreast of industry trends and best practices.

Lebana’s journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring HR professionals, showcasing the transformative power of strategic HR leadership in driving organizational success. Her ability to navigate diverse industries, coupled with her relentless pursuit of excellence, positions her as a trailblazer in the field of Human Resources. As she continues to chart new territories and drive impactful change, Lebana Penkar remains a beacon of inspiration for HR professionals striving to make a lasting impact in the corporate landscape.

38. Alex Augustine

Alex Augustine stands as a seasoned business leader with an illustrious career spanning over twenty-seven years, characterized by his multifaceted expertise in both Human Resources (HR) and Operations. His professional journey reflects a remarkable blend of strategic acumen, operational excellence, and a profound commitment to driving organizational growth and transformation. Currently serving as the Chief People Officer (CPO) at WayCool Foods, India’s fastest-growing food and agritech company, Alex leads the charge in fostering a culture of innovation and social impact while spearheading the company’s ambitious mission to revolutionize India’s food economy. With a focus on building a robust organizational framework grounded in values, Alex and his team strive to position WayCool Foods as a global leader in food development and distribution services.

Alex’s tenure as the Chief People and Culture Officer at ISS Facility Services India Private Limited further underscores his ability to drive transformative change on a large scale. In this role, he led the People & Culture function through a remarkable journey of organizational transformation, overseeing a workforce of over 50,000 employees across India and serving more than 1100 customers. His strategic leadership was instrumental in positioning ISS as one of India’s top workplaces, as recognized by the Great Place to Work Institute and Economic Times. Under his stewardship, ISS India achieved significant milestones in employee engagement, diversity and inclusion, and organizational performance, cementing its reputation as a preferred employer and industry leader.

Prior to his role at ISS, Alex held key leadership positions at CMS Info Systems and Ingram Micro, where he played a pivotal role in shaping the HR landscape and driving business growth. At CMS Info Systems, he led the Corporate Human Resources function during a period of significant expansion and transformation, contributing to the company’s ascent to becoming India’s largest cash-management company. Similarly, his tenure at Ingram Micro saw him spearheading the establishment of the HR function in India and orchestrating its rapid growth into a business-critical entity, supporting a massive revenue ramp-up from $192 million to over $2 billion in just seven years.

Alex’s diverse professional journey also includes impactful stints at AVT McCormick Ingredients and Taj Hotels, where he honed his skills in labor relations, business turnaround, and organizational development. His experience in handling crisis situations, driving greenfield projects, and leading large-scale talent acquisition initiatives further underscores his ability to navigate complex challenges and deliver tangible results across diverse industry sectors.

Educated at Loyola College and the Madras School of Social Work, Alex combines academic rigor with practical expertise to drive meaningful change and innovation in the organizations he serves. His relentless focus on building a culture of excellence, fostering talent development, and driving sustainable business growth continues to inspire and empower teams to achieve their full potential. As he continues to chart new territories and drive impactful change, Alex Augustine stands as a beacon of leadership and excellence in the dynamic landscape of business and human resources.

39. Ritesh Thakur

Ritesh Thakur is a seasoned HR professional with a rich background in managing human resources and administrative functions across various industries. With extensive experience spanning several years, Ritesh has demonstrated his proficiency in overseeing HR activities and driving organizational success through effective people management strategies.

Currently serving as a Senior Executive HR at Shopkirana E trading Pvt Ltd, Ritesh plays a pivotal role in managing all HR and administrative activities within the company. Situated in the vibrant Indore Area of India, Shopkirana is dedicated to empowering retailers through its innovative e-trading platform. In his capacity, Ritesh is responsible for crafting and implementing HR policies, managing employee relations, and ensuring smooth administrative operations, contributing significantly to the company’s growth and success.

Prior to his current role, Ritesh held key positions at various organizations, where he honed his skills and expertise in different facets of HR management. As a Senior Executive HR at AVWEBWORLD, Ritesh was instrumental in driving HR initiatives and fostering a positive work culture. His tenure at Yutika Natural Pvt. Ltd. and Nimbus Beverages Pvt. Ltd. saw him focusing on payroll management, showcasing his proficiency in handling critical financial aspects of HR operations. Similarly, his stint at RAJPAL HONDA provided him with valuable insights into the automotive industry, where he contributed to enhancing HR processes and employee engagement.

Ritesh’s educational background includes a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya, specializing in Business Administration and Management. This academic foundation, coupled with his hands-on experience in diverse HR roles, equips Ritesh with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the complexities of human resources management effectively.

Throughout his career journey, Ritesh Thakur has demonstrated a strong commitment to driving organizational excellence through robust HR practices and strategic leadership. His passion for fostering employee engagement, nurturing talent, and optimizing organizational performance underscores his role as a valuable asset in the dynamic landscape of HR management. As he continues to spearhead HR initiatives at Shopkirana E trading Pvt Ltd, Ritesh remains dedicated to driving positive change and contributing to the company’s long-term success.

40. Sandeep Banu

Sandeep Banu stands out as a distinguished HR leader with a proven track record of driving transformative HR initiatives across various renowned organizations. Currently serving as the Head of HR at Freo (MoneyTap), Sandeep plays a crucial role in spearheading HR practices and programs aimed at enhancing organizational effectiveness and employee engagement. Freo, India’s pioneering credit-led Neobank, is revolutionizing digital banking for millennials across India and Southeast Asia, offering innovative financial products tailored to modern consumers’ needs.

In his role at Freo, Sandeep is responsible for crafting and implementing talent transformation strategies, revamping HR policies, and overseeing performance management and talent development programs. His expertise extends to areas such as hiring strategy, competency framework development, HR analytics, and organizational surveys, reflecting his commitment to fostering a culture of excellence and continuous improvement within the organization. By leveraging his extensive experience and strategic insights, Sandeep plays a pivotal role in driving Freo’s mission to provide a seamless digital banking experience and empower consumers to make smarter financial decisions.

Prior to his current role, Sandeep held key positions at leading organizations, including Flipkart and Mindtree, where he made significant contributions to HR strategy and business partnering initiatives. At Flipkart, Sandeep spearheaded HR business strategy and partnering for the technology group, collaborating closely with business leaders to drive organizational success. His tenure at Mindtree saw him focusing on employee welfare, performance management, and compensation revision tasks, demonstrating his ability to align HR initiatives with business objectives and drive tangible results.

With a strong educational background, including an MBA in Human Resources from Christ University, Bangalore, Sandeep possesses the knowledge and expertise to navigate the complexities of HR management effectively. His passion for building great teams, connecting with team members, and creating a positive work environment underscores his commitment to driving organizational excellence and employee satisfaction.

Throughout his career journey, Sandeep Banu has earned recognition for his strategic thinking, leadership capabilities, and commitment to driving positive change. As he continues to lead HR initiatives at Freo, Sandeep remains dedicated to fostering a culture of innovation, collaboration, and continuous learning, thereby contributing to Freo’s growth and success in the dynamic fintech landscape.

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