Advisory Board

Avani Davda
Entrepreneur, Business Leader

Avani Davda is an accomplished business leader with expertise in consumer, retail and hospitality industries. With a proven track record of business strategy creation and execution, she works with a focus on increasing shareholder value. She thrives in leading fast-paced, growth-oriented consumer businesses that require long-term strategic planning, and strong external communication skills. Her key strengths lie in building new ventures as well as scaling consumer businesses with an employee-first culture. In addition to this, she has been effective in leading diverse, global teams, managing internal and external stakeholders, maintaining board relationships, and connecting with professionals across several levels and functions. One of her hallmarks is her extensive functional experience in digital transformation, new market entry, product and service design as well as omni-channel customer journey design with iconic brands, like Starbucks, Tata Consumer and Taj. With powerful business leadership, Avani has demonstrated success in transforming organisations, leading cultural change and delivering profitability.

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Sanjeev Kapoor
Celebrity Chef, Entrepreneur and Television Personality

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is unarguably one of the most recognised faces of Indian television. He introduced millions of Indians to the delights of Indian and international cuisine through his show Khana Khazana on Zee. The Government of India conferred upon him the prestigious Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian award in the country, in 2017. He represented India at the World Association of Chefs’ Societies in South Korea, where he introduced people to the wonders of the ancient Indian way of Ayurvedic cooking. He was the Indian ambassador for the UN’s Clean Cook Stoves campaign for the underprivileged in developing countries and represented India as a food ambassador in Spain under the Spanish Government’s Indian Future Leaders Programme (IFLP). He has done cookery shows all over the globe with famous culinary personalities, such as Rachel Ray, Richard Quest and Rene Redzepi. He has also cooked for many dignitaries, including the Honourable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, and has achieved the Guinness World Record by cooking 918 kg khichdi live at the World Food India event held in Delhi in 2017. His business of world-class kitchen gadgets, Wonderchef has enabled and continues to empower women, a cause close to his heart.

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Dr SubbaRao M Gavaravarapu
Scientist F & Head, Nutrition Information, Communication & Health Education (NICHE) Division, ICMR - National Institute of Nutrition

Dr SubbaRao M Gavaravarapu is a public health communication scientist and head of the Nutrition Information, Communication & Health Education (NICHE) Division at the ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad. His research interests are health, nutrition and food safety communication with special emphasis on social, behavioural and cultural aspects of communicative processes. His research and praxis go beyond the traditional extension research/activities and integrate translational communication science with community-based approaches to promote nutrition awareness. He has spearheaded and/or conducted hundreds of nutrition awareness programmes across the country. He co-ordinated the activities of the Secretariat of World Health Organization’s (WHO) Southeast Asia Nutrition Research-cum-Action Network of 11 member countries and edited the half-yearly newsletter of the Network from 2004-2012. He sits on expert committees of regulatory bodies like the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). He serves as the Editorial Board Member of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior and the Asian Editor of the American Journal of Health Behavior. He chairs the Health Communication Working Group of the International Association of Media & Communication Research (IAMCR).

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GV Gopala Rao, IRS (Rtd)
Former Chief Commissioner of Income Tax

With 35 years of exemplary service as an IRS officer in the Income Tax Department, GV Gopala Rao retired as the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Mumbai, in 2019. Post-retirement, he has been contributing his valuable expertise as a director in the tax department of a leading law firm, Fox Mandal. He has been honoured with the position of Chief Academic Advisor at Vasavi Academy (of Karnataka Arya Vysya Mahasabha), Bengaluru, which gives free coaching for IAS/IPS (UPSC) Exams. He is also a member of the Governing Council of Askhadhaa Foundation, Bengaluru, which works for Special Children and Young Adults. In addition, he is an advisor of the Samata Seva Samithi, Rajahmundry (Andhra Pradesh), which helps in youth empowerment and employment.

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Meghana Narayan
Co-founder, Wholsum Foods (Slurrp Farm)

Meghana is passionate about children’s nutrition and health. She is committed to bringing about a positive change in childhood malnutrition statistics. Her efforts to feed her daughter healthy, tasty food is what led her to start this venture. Before starting Wholsum Foods (Slurrp Farm), Meghana led the public health practice at McKinsey & Company. She holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School, a BA in Computation as a Rhodes Scholar from Oxford University and a BE with distinction in Computer Engineering from Bangalore University. Meghana is a national-level swimmer for India and has won over 400 gold medals at various events, including at the Asian Games. Her dream is to help bring home more Olympic gold medals.

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Sanjeev Shishoo
Ex-Corp VP - Global Service Centre, Novo Nordisk

Sanjeev Shishoo is on the board of Sunshine Holdings Plc, Healthguard Pharmacy Ltd. and Sunshine Healthcare Ltd. Formerly he was the Corporate Vice President of global healthcare giant, Novo Nordisk’s Global Service Centre (GSC) in Bangalore. A qualified healthcare management professional, Sanjeev Shishoo, counts over 25 years with Novo Nordisk including heading the Regional Business across Asia. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in pharmacy and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) - Calcutta, and has a track record of building high performing organizations across Asia that deliver ambitious targets and is skilled in marketing strategy and implementation. Building healthcare brands has been his passion and was involved in creating three of the current top 10 pharma brands in India.

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Nazeeb Arif
Executive VP and Chief of Corporate Communications of ITC Limited

Nazeeb Arif is the Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Communications of ITC Limited. He has made a meaningful contribution to building ITC’s corporate reputation through strategic interventions. Building on his experience in economic policy issues, he contributes actively to thought leadership in the organisation. Passionate about sustainability, he engages deeply in ITC’s globally acknowledged initiatives in this area. Nazeeb’s professional experience spans 35 years. Before joining ITC in 2006, he led the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) as its Secretary General and CEO. Earlier, he had also served the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the apex Industry body in the country. He is actively involved in environmental and sustainability issues. He was awarded the United States Asia Environmental Partnership Environmental Leadership Award.

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Pankaj Chaddah
Co-founder and Former COO - Zomato

Pankaj is the co-founder and former COO of Zomato. He has previously worked with Bain and Company in New Delhi. In his last role at Zomato, Pankaj oversaw sales and operations in local and international markets. He was also responsible for all mobile development and distribution across platforms. Pankaj graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from IIT Delhi in 2007. Now he has chosen to don the hat of entrepreneurship again with his new gig in the mental health space. Chaddah along with his wife, Pooja Khanna have been working on setting up a chain of mental fitness studios.

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Sahil Barua
Co-founder and CEO - Delhivery

Sahil began his career in management consulting at Bain and Company, working across their London and New Delhi offices. At Bain, he worked on growth strategy, M&A and performance improvement across the private equity, telecommunications, healthcare and consumer products spaces. He quit Bain in 2011 to start Delhivery, which has now become the largest and fastest growing e-commerce enabler in India. As the CEO, Sahil sets the strategic direction for the company and plays an active role in the overall operations and engineering efforts. He is a gold medalist from IIM-Bangalore and has done his B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Surathkal.

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Sandeep Banerjee
Former Managing Director of Compass Group (India)

Sandeep Banerjee is the former MD of Compass Group (India), the world’s largest institutional food services company. He did his Honours in Science and followed it up with a Master’s in Business Administration and an Advanced Management Programme on Global Leadership from ISB- Kellogg. Sandeep has had successful stints in large organisations in India and overseas, spanning over 25 years. Currently, he is nurturing new ventures and associating with social causes for the larger good. He is a business architect and transformer, and a firm believer of building purpose-led, values-driven, enduring organisations at scale. In the past, Sandeep has worked with Accor (Services), Thomas Cook, Blow Plast, IFB Bosch and Bata. He loves travelling and meeting people, and is keen on the social impact of food, education and health.

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Srivatsan Rajan
Chairman of Advisory Board of Akshaya Patra, India, Partner at Cota Capital (San Francisco), Former Partner in Bain & Co. (San Francisco), Former Chairman of Bain & Co. (India)

Srivatsan Rajan has over 21 years of management consulting experience in India and the United States. He is the founder of the Indian operations of Bain & Company and has served as its Managing Partner. He also has significant experience working with private equity firms and companies across various sectors. He has led the creation and execution of turnaround strategies for multiple diversified firms. He has been the co-founder of a tech start-up in Silicon Valley. He is on the board of Delhivery, an e-commerce logistics start-up, and Central Square Foundation, a leading non-profit focused on education. He is also on the Board of Bridgespan India, an affiliate of Bain & Company that focuses on advising foundations, philanthropists and non-profit organisations. He has invested in and is on the advisory boards of various start-ups in India. He earned his MBA from Wharton, where he was a Palmer Scholar for distinguished academic achievement, and has a PGDM from IIM-Calcutta, where he has been nominated as a Distinguished Alumnus. He has also received a BSc degree in Physics. He writes regularly for top-tier publications, such as Mint and The Economic Times. He is the Vice-Chair of the Regional Strategy Group on South Asia of the World Economic Forum.

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Vinita Bali
Business Leader and Former MD - Britannia Industries Limited

Vinita Bali is a global business leader with extensive experience in leading large companies in India and overseas. In addition to working in Britannia Industries Ltd., India, she has worked with eminent multinationals, like The Coca-Cola Company and Cadbury Schweppes PLC, and in a variety of marketing, general management and executive roles in UK, Nigeria, South Africa, Latin America and USA. In April 2014, Vinita moved from a full-time operational role as an MD & CEO in Britannia to pursue her wide-ranging interests in the corporate and development sectors. She is a Non-Executive Director on the Global Board of Smith & Nephew PLC, Chairman of GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition), a Swiss Foundation based in Geneva, and the Advisory Board of Cornell University’s Department of Nutritional Science. She also served on the Global Board of Syngenta International AG from April 2012 to June 2017. In India, Vinita serves as a Non-Executive Director on the Boards of CRISIL Ltd, Titan Industries Ltd and Kasturi & Sons Ltd. She is a member of the Board of Governors of IIM–Bangalore and an Advisory Board Member of PwC. Cognizant Technology Solutions, a US-based IT company, appointed Vinita Bali as an independent director on 24 February 2020.

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Renu Basu
Strategic Consultant Sales, Marketing and Communication. Former Senior Vice President Indian Hotels Co. Ltd.

Veteran Sales and Marketing Professional with over 30 years’ experience in Customer Management, Revenue Management, Brand Building, Communication, Marketing including Digital Marketing, CRM, and Loyalty.Former Senior Vice President Global Sales and Marketing at IHCL, member of the seven-member executive management committee reporting to the CEO. Responsible for day-to-day management and driving key strategic initiatives focused on complete structural change and overhaul of Sales, Marketing and Customer Centricity for the company. Pioneered automation for salesforce management, enhancing productivity through the introduction of technology a customized solution with Oracle.Considerable expertise in enhancing brand positioning. Taj obtained the rare distinction of being ranked No 1 as the nation’s strongest brand in 2020 and as the strongest hotel brand in the world in 2021 by Brand finance during the tenure. Has held diverse senior management positions which included responsibility for Revenue Management, Sales, Digital Marketing, Customer loyalty and Marketing Communication.

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Lakshmi Sampath
Former CEO of Centre for Civil Society & India Sanitation Coalition & Former head of marketing for Standard Chartered (South Asia) & HSBC (India)

Lakshmi was previously the CEO of the India Sanitation Coalition (ISC), a programme housed in FICCI, aimed at driving multi-stakeholder engagement to accelerate the adoption of sustainable sanitation practices in India through partnerships amongst the private sector, implementation partners, multilateral agencies and the governmental agencies. With a leadership career spanning over 25 years in Ogilvy, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank, overseeing multi-geographic teams, Lakshmi has established credentials in leading and nurturing talented individuals and driving a high-performance culture. Apart from experience in brand management, Lakshmi brings with her a creative bent of mind and an in-depth understanding of research and consumer behaviour. Her last assignment in the corporate sector was at Standard Chartered Bank, where she was the South Asia head and the managing director for brand and marketing. Lakshmi has always had a keen desire to contribute to the society and has done so for many years through mentoring, charity and volunteering in CSR activities. She is now pursuing a fulltime second career in the development sector, with an active interest in education, gender, environment, sustainable livelihoods, renewables and allied areas. An electrical engineer and an alumni of IIM-Bangalore, Lakshmi is a trekking enthusiast and enjoys exploring the Himalayas with her husband, Suresh and son, Arjun.

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