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Debjani Ghosh: Making History

She will be the first woman to head India’s IT software trade lobby, Nasscom, in its three-decade history

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On 10 november last year when the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) announced the appointment of Debjani Ghosh, former MD, Intel South Asia, as its president-designate, to many it appeared as a routine appointment announcement. But to all those who are part of India’s $160 billion-IT services industry, it was a big news. From April 2018, Ghosh will not just become the chief of Nasscom, but the first woman president in the three-decade history of this IT software trade lobby that represents over 2,000 small and big IT companies including some of the global software giants in outsourcing. So what is the big deal, one may ask? Well, for starters, none of India’s largest IT services companies has had a woman head. And we are here talking about some of the biggest software firms such as Tata Consultancy and Infosys. Therefore, the industry is expecting this change to have a trickle down effect across the sector where gender gap is an issue. According to reports, for every one woman engineer hired, at least three male engineers get the job. Also, only around 7 per cent of the women eventually reach the C-suite at Indian tech companies. Ghosh will succeed R. Chandrashekhar, former career bureaucrat, whose tenure as Nasscom president ends on 31 March.

At Intel, where Ghosh spent over two decades, she was responsible for a slew of achievements including establishing new growth areas for Intel across the SAARC region, and working with governments and industry players to help accelerate the adoption of technology, especially as an enabler of inclusive growth and development. Nasscom chairman Raman Roy says he expects Ghosh to play a key role in catalysing the next phase of growth of the sector by further enhancing Nasscom’s initiatives in innovation, disruptive technologies, skilling and new market access. On her part, Ghosh has promised to advocate for women in a workplace that largely remains a male bastion, particularly at the senior management level. Ghosh holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India, and an MBA degree in marketing from S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research in Mumbai, India. Before joining Intel in 1996, she had worked with advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather.

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Magazine 17 March 2018 debjani ghosh nasscom