R. M. VISHAKHA
MD & CEO
RM Vishakha has helmed IndiaFirst Life as its MD & CEO since March 2015. Under her strong leadership, the company has recorded a significant growth rate and steadily risen in industry ranking. Leading from the front, Vishakha spearheaded the seamless transition of shareholding from former partner, Legal and General to Warburg Pincus.
Vishakha has ranked among the Top 50 of Fortune India’s ‘Most Powerful Women’ in business three times in a row (2017, 2018 and 2019). She has also been bestowed with ‘Most Influential Woman’ by the Business World magazine. Recognising her achievements, ICAI bestowed Vishakha with the prestigious award of CA Business Leader – Women (2017). Vishakha has been enlisted as a trailblazer amongst contemporaries across industries by prestigious publications such as Forbes India and Business Today.
A thought leader, Vishakha co-chairs the Pension and Insurance committee of CII. She is also an esteemed member of National Council on Insurance (ASSOCHAM), a committee member of FICCI, and a Charter Member of Exqualifi by AIWMI. She is an independent Director on the board of NRB Bearings Private Limited. She also has been on the executive committee of Life Insurance Council.
Vishakha continues to guide and mentor the upcoming generation of thinkers and leaders. Some of her prestigious mentorship associations include International Insurance Society (IIS) Mentor program, WWB Leadership and Diversity for Innovation Program, RGA Leaders for Tomorrow and WILL Forum.
A Chartered Accountant equipped with a Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Systems, Vishakha is also a Fellow of the Insurance Institute of India.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer
A nimble footed strategic thinker, who is high on delivery, Rushabh Gandhi, Deputy CEO, IndiaFirst Life has been one of the key driving forces and an integral part of the organisation’s growth story. A prodigious financial services leader, with an illustrious track record of 25 years across national and international markets, Rushabh enjoys questioning the conventional and looking at challenges from an opportunity lens. He is also a Director on the Board of CSC E-Governance Services India Limited (promoted by Government of India).
With his experience and expertise, Rushabh has progressively steered IndiaFirst Life on its growth path. He has been consistently delivering the organisation’s annual operating plans by implementing a best in class Bancassurance business and by successfully adopting the Multichannel Distribution strategy. His sharp business acumen and deep understanding of the insurance sector has helped IndiaFirst Life grow at a five-year CAGR of 40%. In addition to Sales and Distribution, Rushabh oversees Marketing, Products, Customer Experience, Strategy, Change Management and Human Capital. In his over half a decade long journey at IndiaFirst Life, Rushabh has contributed significantly in elevating the organisation’s rank to 12 th in retail business amongst private insurers.
As a visionary leader, a sales innovator and an assertive implementer, Rushabh has a clear prescience in anticipating business trends and opportunities. This has brought him stupendous success. In his earlier role, he spearheaded IndiaFirst Life’s Sales & Marketing function
Under Rushabh’s aegis, IndiaFirst Life has won a multitude of prominent industry accolades including “India’s Best Workplaces in BFSI” by Great Place to Work® Institute (2019 & 2020), “India’s Most Admirable Brands 2019-20” (NDTV), IndiaFirst Life featuring on CNN News18 as “India's Admired Brand 2019”, The Economic Times “Best Brands 2018” award for Excellence in BFSI and “Bancassurance Leader of the Year” at National Awards for Insurance Excellence ’17, among others.
Rushabh has served Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance, Aviva Life Insurance and Birla Sun Life Insurance in his earlier stints. As a people’s person who is driven by passion and processes, he played a pivotal role in setting up Aviva Life’s retail life insurance business in Indonesia.
Rushabh has successfully completed the Group Developmental Programme, especially curated for global leaders, at INSEAD, Fontainebleau. He also is a Post-Graduate in Management Studies from the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS).
Chief Financial Officer
Kedar Patki, with his extensive career spanning over two decades, comes with a demonstrated history of working in the insurance industry. He spent a majority part of his professional journey in the realms of finance and operations, both in India as well as in the overseas markets with his specialisation in Planning& Budgeting, Strategy, Accounting, Tax, Management, Offshoring and Insurance.
Prior to IndiaFirst Life Insurance, Kedar was a CFO at IDBI Federal Life Insurance and has served several companies such as Tata AIG General Insurance, SBI Life Insurance, AXA, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance and Akzo Nobel India, where he managed regulatory reporting, investor relations, and relationships with industry associations and forums in addition to core Finance responsibilities.
At IndiaFirst Life, Kedar is responsible for managing end-to-end Finance, Planning & Budgeting, Taxation and Investments operations of the organisation.
He is a commerce graduate from the University of Pune and a qualified Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).
Chief Operating Officer
As the Chief Operating Officer at IndiaFirst Life, Atri Chakraborty oversees the entire gamut of designing, implementing and managing business operations. He is responsible for Distribution & Branch Operations, Customer Service, Persistency, New Business & Underwriting and Claims.
With over 27 years of rich and diversified experience in the BFSI sector, Atri has dedicated 18 years plus in the insurance domain. Over the years he has been successful in transforming service delivery, achieving process excellence, facilitating digital transformation, synchronising program management, and overseeing operations management during his tenure at various organisations.
Prior to joining IndiaFirst Life, Atri was Chief Operating Officer with Ocare Health Insurance Ltd and prior to that with Tata AIG General Insurance Company Limited (and Tata AIA Life Insurance Co Ltd) for over 16 years where he last served the organisation as its EVP and Chief of Operations & Facilities. Atri has worked with Citibank India for close to seven years and he has also been associated with Gujarat Lease Financing Ltd and United Credit Financial Services.
Atri holds a Master’s degree in Management Studies from Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani.
Chief People Officer
Praveen Menon, Chief People Officer, is responsible for Talent management, Performance management, Organisation development, Training, Infrastructure, Procurement and Group Business at IndiaFirst Life
Since 2015, when he joined the organisation, Praveen’s strategic contributions continue to centre on incorporating the ever-evolving modern day people practices. Through this, the endeavour is to cultivate an eco-system that is empowered and meritocratic, receptive to upskilling and holistic development. Praveen also focusses on providing an integrated & seamless infrastructure for effective functioning of all the departments.
In his earlier stints, Praveen has served entities, such as Aditya Birla, Axis Bank, AC Nielsen, IDBI Federal Life Insurance, Citibank and HSBC. In these organisations, he is credited to have fuelled the evolution of employee journey through apposite people practices complementing business goals.
As a thought leader, Praveen continues to actively lend his perspectives on people management and adapting to evolving aspirant demands, at eminent forums and amidst academia, across India.
Praveen, an alumnus of the Welingkar Institute of Management, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies and Tata Institute of Social Sciences, holds a Business Management degree, MBA in Finance, and a post-graduation in advanced Human Resources.
Country Head – Bank of Baroda
Sunanda Roy heads IndiaFirst Life’s Bancassurance Sales in the Bank of Baroda vertical, thus responsible for forging a stronger and better optimised bancassurance channel. In this capacity, he is at the helm of insurance distribution via IndiaFirst Life's partner bank, Bank of Baroda branches spread across India.
A management professional with extensive strategic and operational acumen, Sunanda has demonstrated vision with focussed implementation during his prior stints at Modi Telstra - Airtel, Max New York Life, HSBC Bank, and Canara HSBC OBC Life. He has led organisations’ progress from start-up stage to a phase of significant growth in revenue, profitability and market share.
Sunanda leads the sales & distribution, business development, revenue growth, and channel relationships, in tandem with IndiaFirst Life's endeavours around delivery of best-in-class offerings and digitalised service experience.
Sunanda completed his Post Graduate Diploma in General Management from the EMERITUS Institute of Management, Singapore, besides being an alumnus of the University of Calcutta from where he secured his bachelor’s degree. He holds a Chartered Wealth Manager Certificate from the American Academy of Financial Management, Singapore, and a General Management Certificate, from the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.
Chief Strategy Officer
Anjana Rao, Chief Strategy Officer, is at the helm of strategic initiatives at IndiaFirst Life and is tasked with driving business transformation within the company.
Anjana brings incredible vision and business acumen, which enables technology to be a vital part of digitalization initiatives while transforming every aspect of IndiaFirst Life's business strategy. This coupled with her in-depth understanding of emerging digital technologies, the fintech ecosystem and growth strategies enables her to implement a more robust and strategic framework to give IndiaFirst Life a competitive advantage.
In a career spanning close to two decades, Anjana has spent the larger part of her corporate life serving the Indian insurance (Life and General) sector. The domains she holds expertise in span across project management, change management, and business transformation centred on leveraging IT and process improvements.
Prior to joining IndiaFirst Life, Anjana was engaged at Ernst and Young, Oracle India, Universal Sompo, SBI Life Insurance and ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, where she led a host of IT transformation projects, has led the IT Applications team, has to her credit, setting up of IT operations for general insurance as one of its founder members, aside from driving CMMI implementation projects.
Anjana holds a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Maths from the University of Raipur. A Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute, Certified Change Management Professional from PROSCI, Certified in Design Thinking, she is also an alumna of Pt. Ravi Shankar Shukla University, Raipur, having finished her MBA in Marketing and HR from the institution.
Country Head - UBI & BroCA
Subhankar Sengupta is the Country Head - UBI & BroCA. He oversees IndiaFirst Life’s partnership businesses comprising the regional rural banks, broking and corporate agency, rural and micro channels in association with the agency, and Direct Sales channels. His responsibilities thus centre around extending insurance penetration avenues beyond the company’s parent banks, Bank of Baroda and Union Bank of India.
A seasoned executive with a professional journey spanning over 23 years, he dedicated 12 years of service to the Indian life insurance domain. Subhankar’s experience and appreciation of contexts across versatile businesses comes from his association with Cadburys, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank and Tata AIA.
Leading the establishment of new business channels of distribution and sourcing affiliates & partners, Subhankar specialises in evaluation and selection of suitable channels across varied geographies. He is tasked with enhancing the footprint of IndiaFirst Life across multi-channels including third-party distribution, internal teams, broking, corporate agencies, direct-sales teams, RRBs and Agency as well. Towards fulfilling the objective of bringing life insurance to the last mile, he brings in an understanding of the rural markets in enabling customised distribution options.
Subhankar holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare & Business Management, West Bengal, besides having completed his bachelor’s in commerce from the University of Calcutta.
Chief Technology and Data Officer
As the Chief Technology and Data Officer at IndiaFirst Life, Sankaranarayanan R (Sankar) is responsible for driving the digital, data and technology disruptions at the organisation. His role encompasses handling Information Technology, and Data & Analytics function covering aspects of Applications, Infra & IT Security and Analytics.
With a career spanning over two and a half decades in the insurance sector, Sankar has spearheaded technology and operations in India and abroad. He specialises in digital and technology implementation.
Before joining IndiaFirst Life, Sankar was General Manager – Innovations at Jubilee Holdings Limited where he was responsible for rolling out digital innovations for five East African countries. Prior to that, he led IT innovations, IT Strategy & Planning, and Operations at Aegon Life Insurance for over a decade. Sankar has also had a stint with tech majors such as HCL, CSC (currently DXC) and LIC of India.
Sankar holds an MBA and a Bachelors in Physics from Bharathidasan University, Tamil Nadu. He has also completed PGPMAX from Indian School of Business (ISB).
Dr. POONAM TANDON
Chief Investment Officer
As one of the earliest members of IndiaFirst Life, Dr. Poonam Tandon today heads the investment management functions at IndiaFirst Life. Poonam is an accomplished veteran with experience and insight into financial markets and investment management in the banking and financial services sector.
In her decade long association with the organisation, Poonam has managed several portfolios across Corporate Group Business, Debt portfolio in ULIP and Traditional Fund, Liquidity Management, Asset Allocation for Investment in Equity in Traditional portfolio and contribution to Asset Liability Committee (ALCO).
With an illustrious career spanning over 26 years in the financial services sector, Poonam has served at MetLife India Insurance Pvt. Ltd., Paternoster LLC (London based start-up Pension Fund), Securities Trading Corporation of India (STCI) and Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) where she started her career in 1994. In her noteworthy achievements, Poonam was instrumental in setting up the corporate bonds desk in 2001, and Swaps desk in 2004 at STCI. The desks became extremely active in corporate bonds, apart from significantly adding to the bottom line of the company.
Poonam has taught as visiting faculty at the National Institute of Securities Markets (NISM) from 2010 to 2012. She has delivered guest lectures at the RBI`s Bankers Training College, NMIMS (Mumbai), and UTI Institute of Capital Markets, among others. Poonam has authored two papers that have been published in the international peer-reviewed journals in the Fixed Income category.
A B.Com (Hons) graduate from Jesus and Mary College, New Delhi, Poonam is an alumnus of XLRI, Jamshedpur, with a PGD in Business Management. She has earned a PhD in Financial Management from NMIMS, Mumbai.
Chief Risk Officer
Sunder Natarajan is the Chief Risk Officer and oversees the risk, internal audit and legal functions at IndiaFirst Life. He is responsible for embedding the risk management framework along with the implementation of good corporate governance in the organisation.
His noteworthy achievements at IndiaFirst Life include spearheading the bancassurance distribution strategy for the company and helping build an integrated bancassurance model with partner banks. Additionally, he set up the sales training team and launched mobile learning for the sales and distribution partners.
Sunder’s work experience in the insurance industry spans for two decades with proven excellence across diverse functions including Sales, Customer Service, Strategy, Bancassurance, Customer Retention, Operations, Quality, Business planning, Training, Communication & Governance. He has also held stints at companies like Aviva Life, Royal Sundaram General Insurance & Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide.
He is on the strategic advisory board of the Institute of Risk Management India Affiliate and is the Deputy Chair for the IRM India Regional Group.
Sunder holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Madras and Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from NMIMS, Mumbai. He completed an Accelerated Leadership Program from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and is a Certified Member of the Institute of Risk Management, London.
Bhavna Verma is the Appointed Actuary at IndiaFirst Life. She oversees all aspects of the Actuarial Function including regulatory and shareholder reporting, product development and management, and financial and insurance risk analysis.
Bhavna has considerable acumen in all actuarial facets of life insurance a result of her broad experience in Indian, Asian and UK markets. Prior to joining IndiaFirst Life, she was the Head of Actuarial Reporting and Risk at Kotak Life Insurance where she spearheaded critical actuarial implementations for the company.
She spent the initial years of her career in actuarial consulting at Willis Towers Watson and briefly at Milliman, where she worked on a range of technical actuarial and strategic assignments across geographies. Armed with this diverse experience, Bhavna is passionate about integrating the application of actuarial principles holistically across functions.
She is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries of India and a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, UK. Additionally, she has also served as the Chief Editor of the Actuary India magazine, the flagship publication of the Institute of Actuaries of India. Academically, Bhavna holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University.