By Palak Shah
Chitra Ramkrishna (49), the heir apparent to National Stock Exchange (NSE) chief Ravi Narain, likes to keep a low profile. Despite being a part of key decision-making at NSE since the inception of the exchange in 1992, Ramkrishna has managed to shun the media limelight. But staying away from the media’s watchful glare may not be possible for Ramkrishna anymore as she takes over the reins of NSE from April 1, 2013.
With her elevation as CEO and managing director of NSE, Ramakrishna will join the select league of women executives in the world who head stock exchanges. Only two of the top 20 bourses globally have women CEOs. South Africa’s Johannesburg Stock Exchange and China’s Shenzhen Stock Exchange are headed by Nicky Newton-King and Liping Song, respectively.
NSE is ranked ahead of both these exchanges in terms of market capitalisation. Under the decade-long leadership of Narain and Ramkrishna, the exchange has risen to become an equity derivative powerhouse.
Ramkrishna was hand-picked by R H Patil, the founding chairman of NSE. Prior to joining the exchange, both Ramkrishna and Narain were with IDBI Bank, a promoter of NSE. Ramkrishna holds a degree from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, UK, and is also a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. Besides playing a key role at NSE, she also holds senior positions in other companies promoted by the exchange such as NSEIT. Ramakrishna was a part of the committee on financial sector reforms headed by Raghuram Rajan in 2008. She was also closely involved with the team that put in place a framework to set up the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
Ramkrishna’s colleagues in NSE say she is a perfectionist but does not believe in breathing down other people’s neck all the time. However, they say she is an aggressive strategist as demonstrated by the role she played in roping in marque investors like NYSE, Temasek, General Atlantic and Goldman Sachs for NSE.
In her spare time, Ramkrishna likes to listen to Carnatic music or play the veena.