SBI Chief, Raj Panjabi named to Fortune’s ‘World’s 50 Greatest Leaders’ List

SBI chief Arundhati Bhattacharya and Indian-origin physician Raj Panjabi have been named by Fortune magazine among the world’s 50 greatest leaders who are transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same.

Bhattacharya, Chairman of India’s largest bank and the first-ever woman to do so, has been ranked 26th on the list while Panjabi, founder and CEO of Last Mile Health, follows closely on the 28th spot.A Indian American physician and social entrepreneur originally from Liberia, Raj Panjabi, has been named by Fortune magazine to its list of “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders,” released March 24.

Panjabi is co-founder and CEO of the nonprofit Last Mile Health, which tackles the “last mile” — the final, critical step of delivering products or services to consumers—a conundrum for businesses and in health care, where last-mile problems hit poor regions especially hard, according to the organization’s Web site.

The nonprofit is striving to change that by training locals in developing countries in lifesaving ­measures, such as protecting themselves against pandemics and safely burying victims killed by infectious diseases. Last Mile has already proved its mettle; its work in Liberia helped stanch the spread of Ebola during the 2014 outbreak, noted Fortune.

Panjabi, who placed 28th on the Fortune list, also serves on the faculty of the Division of Global Health Equity at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass. In 2016, TIME Magazine named Panjabi to its annual list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”

Bhattacharya has steered the SBI through an ongoing battle with bad loans, the surprise demonetization move and will be overseeing the upcoming six-bank merger, an SBI statement said.

“She’s been transformative to convert the 211-year-old institution into the digital era and overhauling human resource for her 200,000-plus employees. The complex six-bank merger she is orchestrating will catapult the SBI into the ranks of the world’s 50 largest banks,” Fortune said.

It noted that Bhattacharya’s effectiveness, frank and outspoken style is well recognized and she has been granted a rare extension to her three-year term at the SBI in October 2016. The 61-year-old professional banker was ranked by Forbes as the 25th most powerful woman in the world in 2016.

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