The inspiring stories of Indian students who studied abroad and made it big in India – Naina Lal Kidwai

Naina Lal Kidwai

Naina Lal Kidwai (born 1957) is an Indian businesswoman, chartered accountant, and banker. 

Education and early years

Kidwai earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Lady Shri Ram College for Women University of Delhi (1977 batch) and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1982. Kidswai was the first Indian woman to graduate from Harvard Business School and the first woman to lead a foreign bank in India. She is a chartered accountant as well.

Career highlights

From 1977 to 1980, she worked at Price Waterhouse & Co. She worked at ANZ Grindlays from 1982 to 1994, where her roles included Head of Investment Banking, Head of Global NRI Services, and Head of Western India Retail Banking. Kidwai was Head of Investment Banking at Morgan Stanley India and JM Morgan Stanley from 1994 to 2002. 

Kidwai also served as the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of HSBC Holdings Plc since 21 May 2004. Besides, she also served as Managing Director of HSBC Securities and Capital Markets India. She has also served as Deputy Chief Executive Officer of HSBC from November 2002 to 5 May 2006.Kidwai serves as a Group General Manager of HSBC Holdings Plc since 1 October 2006. She has also served as the Chief Executive Officer of HSBC India of HSBC Holdings Plc since 5 May 2006. Since 15 April 2009, Kidwai also served as the Country Head of HSBC India. She also served as the Head of Corporate & Custodial Services of HSBC Bank. Kidwai also served as the Group General Manager of HSBC India until 15 April 2009. 

Current positions

She currently serves as Chairman of Max Financial Services Ltd. As well as serving as Chairman of HSBC Asset Management (India) Pvt Ltd and HSBC InvestDirect (India) Ltd, she is a non-executive director of Nestle SA and Altico Capital Partners, the Chairwoman of City of London’s Advisory Council for India, and a Global Advisor to Harvard Business School. NCAER’s Governing Board, the Audit Advisory Board of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, and the National Executive Committee of CII and FICCI are among her affiliations. She is an independent director at Nayara Energy Limited (formerly Essar Oil Limited).

Individual achievements

She serves on the board of advisors of India’s International Movement to Unite Nations (IIMUN). Kidwai has consistently ranked in the Fortune Global List of Top Women in Business, 12th in the Wall Street Journal 2006 Global Listing of Women to Watch, and one of the 15 Global Influentials by Time Magazine. Kidwai is interested in microfinance, livelihood creation for rural women, and environmental protection. As a National Advisory Board Member to AIESEC India, she also supports the world’s largest youth-driven organization. Kidwai reveals that she listens to “all music except heavy metal” and loves to take trekking tours in the Himalayas.


Kidwai has also received many accolades for her admirable work. Kidwai has been honored with the distinguished Padma Shri award for her contributions to trade and industry. Additionally, she received the ALL Ladies League’s Delhi Women of the Decade Achievers Award 2013 for Excellence in Banking.

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