HR stalwarts from Bangalore who make a difference in many lives


HRKatha felicitated a select few leaders from Bangalore’s HR community during its event —Cocktails and Conversations— at Taj Vivanta, Bangalore, on Feb 22. Know more.

HR is not just a support function, but one that forms the foundation of an organisation’s functioning. It is the people who make a difference to businesses, and it is the human resources function that ensures people in an organisation are happy and well engaged. From transactional to emotional, there is a lot that the HR professional has to take care of—and that is what makes the role special. People dynamics is so complicated that the role cannot just be administered through a standard set of rules, but requires both the skills of art and science—the best of both, the head and the heart.

At HRKatha, we come across HR leaders from various industries on a day-to-day basis and realise that the profession is a complex one and takes immense courage, integrity, intellect and emotion to stay relevant in. That is why, during our Bangalore event ‘Cocktails & Conversations’ we felicitated a few HR leaders for their relentless and continuing contribution to the profession and the industry. Here’s a brief about the deserving stalwarts!

‘Cocktails and Conversations’ is HRKatha’s endeavour to bring together senior leaders from the HR community to deliberate upon challenges that face HR today and are sure to get bigger in the times to come. Starting with Bangalore, ‘Cocktails & Conversations’ is a multi-city event wherein, we will explore multifarious topics for candid yet meaningful discussions and will felicitate the efforts of HR leaders from each of the cities.

Rajesh Rai, director-HR, Accenture

Rai leads HR for the operations delivery centres of products, resources, financial services, communication media & technology at Accenture, covering nearly 35,000 employees. He is also a certified Clifton’s Strengths Finder Gall Up Coach and loves his strengths coaching sessions— with teams and with individuals in 1 to 1s.

With over 17 years of experience across industries, in human resource consulting and industry HR in varied business environments, Rai aspires to make an impact on the business, through people and has a great understanding of the business imperatives.

Selvakani Selvaraj, head of people & operations, McKinsey & Company

A seasoned HR professional with over 15 years of progressive global HR experience, Selvaraj is currently the head of people & operations for India at McKinsey & Company. He also oversees the Asia Pacific region, leading key people development interventions.

Selvaraj has delivered in HR leadership roles (operational & strategic) with not just complex high-growth start-up tech firms, such as ThoughtWorks and Aveva R&D, but also global giants such as IBM, RBS & Wipro, and possesses cross-regional and diverse sector experience.

Anurag Verma, senior director-HR, Flipkart

A people- and business-oriented HR professional, Verma has been coaching and managing people for the last 24 years. He is a keen enthusiast of diversity initiatives and is the programme lead for D&I charter at Flipkart. His expertise lies in change management, strategic HR partnering, organisation development, building & transforming culture.

Vinesh Nair, head-HR, RedBus

Nair has close to 15 years of experience, with a majority of it in the area of talent development and learning & development. Some of the previous organisations he worked for are Mars India (Snickers, Pedigree), Hitachi Consulting and Idea Cellular.

“If you don’t take care of your people, somebody else will”— this is an ideology he strongly believes in and tries to incorporate in the various initiatives and policies at RedBus.

Karthik Purushotham, India Talent Acquisition Leader, PayPal

Having been in business-enabling roles for over 15 years, Purushotham has been instrumental in supporting various multinational companies in EMEA and APAC markets, to achieve their business objectives. Having been based in the United Kingdom, managing the talent acquisition function for Dell application business, he also possesses significant international work experience.

Harish Sharma, group VP and head HR, IT and admin, Toyota Financial Services

A technologist with a firm belief that it’s the people who make all the difference, Sharma is a passionate leader with over 16 years of experience in the banking and financial services industries. He is experienced in managing the key enablement functions of HR, IT, information security / cyber security and administration and has a strong track record in building capabilities and teams from scratch, while driving business-critical initiatives that make a clear difference to the organisation.

Sahana Shankar, AVP talent transformation, Paladion Networks

Shankar is a highly motivated, optimistic, and result-driven HR Leader with high business acumen focussing on organisational needs and optimising human capital to achieve business objectives. She has shown expertise in leading global teams and various HR functions, and has also been widely acknowledged for her excellence in the profession.

Sudhir Kumar, AVP & head, talent acquisition and workforce management, Tech Mahindra

A seasoned professional with over 21 years of extensive business and technology experience in handling recruitment and staffing, along with business development, Kumar has been involved in several organisational initiatives that bring business benefits.

Amitav Mukherji, VP-HR, ITC Foods

Masters in HR from Cornell University, Mukherji has a long-standing experience managing HR in the FMCG industry.

Geetha Thiagarajan, head-HR, Altimetrik India

A leading HR thinker with rich experience in handling the people aspect of transformational initiatives, Thiagarajan has worked across sectors and organisations, such as Deutsche Bank, Dell and ANZ Bank. She is a CA intern and also a certified leadership coach.

Abhishek De, talent acquisition lead, Alcon Laboratories

A young, energetic professional, De has worked with Tata Consultancy Services, Microsoft and LinkedIn in the past. He currently leads talent acquisition for Alcon- Asia Pacific region. He has held progressively increasing responsibilities in HR business partnering, talent management and OD interventions, leading talent acquisition teams, executive search, employer branding, and campus hiring strategy and execution.

Dola Mukherjee, AVP-HR, Biocon

A senior HR professional with over 16 years of experience, Mukherjee has been instrumental in linking HR strategy to business strategy across the various roles she played. She obtained her advanced management education from ISB, Hyderabad, and Kellogg School of Management, USA. She is a behavioural training facilitator and also a guest faculty in several management institutes.

Ivy Saldanha, head-HR, Tata Power

Saldanha is a seasoned HR professional with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology, mechanical or industrial engineering industry. Skilled in HR consulting, deferred Compensation, executive search, technical recruiting, and HR policies, Saldanha has over 18 years of experience.

Bikramjit Walia, HR director, India Technology Centre, Amazon

Walia has been with Amazon for over five years now and his initial role included launching Amazon fulfilment network in India as an operations leader before switching over to leading HR for technology teams across multiple locations in India. In prior roles at Amazon, Walia has also led the university relations team at Amazon India.

Walia has an MBA from ISB Hyderabad and an engineering degree from IIT Bombay.

Nilesh Kumar, VP-HR, Zivame

Kumar has over 13 years of HR experience across talent acquisition, total rewards, business partnering, merger & acquisition, manufacturing, factory HR and global assignments. A management graduate from XLRI, he started his career at GSK Consumer Healthcare, and moved up the career ladder to lead the total rewards vertical for GSK before joining Zivame.

Jayanthi Gopal, VP and country head-HR, State Street

A seasoned HR professional, with over two decades of experience in the industry, Gopal currently heads HR at State Street India. She holds a post-graduate degree from TISS. Taking a mid-career sabbatical, she went on to procure a management degree with specialisation in human resource management from the London School of Economics.

Gopal’s corporate conquests include companies, such as Stock Holding Corporation of India, Tata Consultancy Services, Spectris, First American Financial Corporation and State Street Bank and Trust.

Resmi Mohan, country HR manager, Enterprise Group – technology services, global analytics, sales operations, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

A dynamic HR professional with a rich experience across startups as well as a large tech company undergoing massive transformation, Mohan is currently responsible for partnering with business leaders in driving business results by planning and executing effective people strategies.

Milind Bhalekar, head-HR, British Biologicals

With over 18 years of experience across pharmaceuticals and FMCG, Bhalekar has displayed strong human resource capabilities all through and is currently on a challenging assignment with British Biologicals taking control of the HR function across the organisation and also setting up the business process.

Rajnesh Khosla, head-HR & CSR, LG Software

A seasoned HR professional, Khosla has been leading and managing large HR teams and also has an extensive background in NGOs management, compensation, HR budgets, audits and governance. At LG Software, he heads HR and country-level CSR initiatives, lending support to Asia-Pacific, while closely supporting global HR on all HR operational activities.

Nanjappa B.S., VP, head of employee relations & head-HR for enabling functions, Infosys

Nanjappa’s career as a human resources professional spans 15 years and multiple cornerstones of people management, such as recruitment, employee relations, business HR, organisational development, grievance management and HR strategic programmes. A spirited and result-focused individual, Nanjappa has developed subject matter expertise in key HR areas. Having begun his career in the HR function of Infosys, he has learnt best-in-class HR practices and processes across countries.

‘Cocktails & Conversations’, Bangalore was sponsored by KellyOCG

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