R. M. VISHAKHA
MD & CEO
Vishakha RM is a BFSI veteran with over three decades of wide-ranging experience. She has held the position of MD & CEO of IndiaFirst Life since 2015 and is best known for her result-oriented leadership. Her accomplishments over the past eight years have ensued a strong growth for IndiaFirst Life across all financial indicators.
Vishakha has been recognised as ASSOCHAM Woman Leader of the Year (2023) and features in ET-BFSI.com’s Dynamic Women Leaders in India (2022) and Powerful Women Leaders in the BFSI sector (2021). She has featured in Business Today’s Most Powerful Women (2022) and has won “CEO of the Year” at Campaign India's Women Leading Change Awards 2022. Vishakha has ranked among the Top 50 in Fortune India’s ‘Most Powerful Women’ in Business (2017, 2018, and 2019). Her other wins include ‘Most Influential Woman’ by Business World magazine and CA Business Leader – Women (2017) by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
During her tenure, IndiaFirst Life was recognised by the Great Place to Work® Institute (India) as India's Best Workplaces in BFSI for four consecutive years (2019, 2020, 2021, 2022), Great Place to Work-Certified® for five consecutive years, India's Best Workplaces for Women 2021, and India's Best 100 Companies to Work For 2021. The organisation has won Life Insurance Company of The Year at the India Insurance Summit 2022, Navabharat BFSI Summit 2022, and The Economic Times Best Brands 2021 & 2022.
Vishakha has also been on various award juries, such as the ET brandequity India Digiplus Awards 2022, the CA Business Leaders 40 Under 40, and the Indian Digital Market Awards (IDMA) for two consecutive years (2021 and 2022) amongst others.
She is a member of the CII National Council and co-chairs the CII Pension and Insurance committee. Vishakha is also a member of the CII National Committee of Financial Inclusion, the CII Task Force on Fintech and an honorary member of the IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
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. As a mentor, she actively contributes as a Charter Member of Equalifi by AIWMI.
A Chartered Accountant equipped with a Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Systems, Vishakha is also a Fellow of the Insurance Institute of India.
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, having over 25 years of experience across national and international markets, Rushabh enjoys questioning the conventional and viewing challenges as opportunities. He is also a Director on the Board of CSC E-Governance Services India Limited (promoted by Government of India).
A nimble footed strategist, a visionary leader, and a sales innovator, Rushabh has implemented the best-in-class Bancassurance business and successfully adopted the Multichannel Distribution strategy. His sharp business acumen has significantly contributed to elevate IndiaFirst Life’s rank to 11th in retail business amongst private insurers. In addition to Sales and Distribution, Rushabh oversees Marketing, Products, Customer Experience, Strategy, Business Development, and Human Capital.
Rushabh has been bestowed with the Navabharat Transformational Leader of the Year 2022, Elets BFSI Gamechanger Award 2022 for Visionary Leadership, Silver Feather Business Leader of the Year 2022, Silver Feather Innovative Leader Award 2021, and The Indian Achievers’ Award 21-22 for Business Leadership. Under his 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, 2021, 2022), The Economic Times Best Brands (2018, 2021, 2022), and Life Insurance Company of the Year 2022 at the India Insurance Summit & Awards 2022 amongst 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
As Chief Financial Officer, Kedar Patki is responsible for managing the end-to-end finance, planning and budgeting operations, as well as the taxation and investment operations at IndiaFirst Life.
Kedar has enjoyed an extensive career spanning over two decades, with a significant part of it in the insurance realm. He is an expert in finance and operations, both in the Indian and overseas markets. He has acquired specialisations in planning and budgeting, strategy, accounting, tax, management, offshoring, and insurance.
Prior to IndiaFirst Life, Kedar was the Chief Financial Officer at IDBI Federal Life Insurance. His career includes stints at 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.
Kedar 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 design, implementation, and management of business operations in its entirety. He is responsible for distribution and branch operations, customer service, new business and underwriting, persistency, claims, technology, data science and change management.
Of his ~30 years of rich and diversified experience in the BFSI sector, Atri has dedicated close to two decades towards the country’s insurance space. He has been successful in transforming service delivery, achieving process excellence, facilitating digital transformation, synchronising programme management, and overseeing operations management during his tenure at various organisations.
Prior to joining IndiaFirst Life, Atri has spent close to two decades with Tata AIG General Insurance and Tata AIA Life Insurance, exiting as EVP and Chief of Operations & Facilities. Atri has also worked with Citibank India, Gujarat Lease Financing and United Credit Financial Services.
Atri holds a master’s degree in management studies from the Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani.
Chief Actuarial & Governance Officer
As the Chief Actuarial & Governance Officer at IndiaFirst Life, Bikash Choudhary is responsible for overseeing the Actuarial, Risk, Governance, Product, and Strategy functions in the organisation.
He has over 20 years of work experience in life insurance and actuarial consulting and has worked in various markets, including India, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Hong Kong, and more.
Prior to joining IndiaFirst Life, he was associated with Future Generali India Life Insurance as the Appointed Actuary and Chief Risk Officer as well as overseeing product development. He has also worked in Towers Watson, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, and Aviva India.
He is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries of India and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, UK. He holds an M. Tech from the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, and an M. Sc in Statistics from Hindu College, University of Delhi.
Chief Distribution Officer – BOB Channel
As Chief Distribution Officer – Bank of Baroda Channel, Sunanda Roy heads IndiaFirst Life’s bancassurance strategy and sales in the Bank of Baroda vertical. Accordingly, he leads the initiative to forge a stronger and optimised bancassurance channel. In this capacity, he is at the helm of insurance distribution via IndiaFirst Life's partner bank, Bank of Baroda, which has branches across India.
A management professional with extensive strategic and operational acumen, Sunanda has demonstrated a vision with focussed implementation during his prior stints at Modi Telstra - Airtel, Max New York Life, HSBC Bank, and Canara HSBC Life. He has led organisations’ progress from the start-up stage to a phase of significant growth in revenue, profitability, and market share.
Sunanda obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in General Management from the Emeritus Institute of Management, Singapore. Besides, he is 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 Distribution Officer – UBI & Emerging Channels
As Chief Distribution Officer, UBI & Emerging Channels, Munish Bhardwaj heads IndiaFirst Life's bancassurance sales in the Union Bank of India vertical. He also helms sales and distribution, business development, and channel relationships for Agency and Regional Rural Banks for the organisation.
Over the years, Munish has enhanced the company's footprint across multiple channels and is credited with the successful establishment and improvement in business performance from low-performing banking partner branches.
He has led Strategic Alliances and Micro and Direct channels for IndiaFirst Life in the past. Munish consistently endeavours to fulfil the objective of bringing life insurance to the last mile.
A successful industry professional, he has previously worked with HDFC Life and Bajaj Allianz, in addition to a few players in the pharma industry.
An MBA graduate, Munish holds a B.Sc. in mathematics from the University of Rajasthan and a diploma in computer science from the Birla Institute of Scientific Research.
Chief Marketing & Development Officer
As the Chief Marketing & Development Officer at IndiaFirst Life, Subhankar Sengupta is responsible for guiding the company's growth and success through overseeing branding and marketing functions. He is also responsible for building strategies for the distribution channels and for fostering new partnerships and strategic alliances for the company.
He has been with IndiaFirst Life since 2019 and has previously served as the Country Head for the Union Bank of India bancassurance vertical. Subhankar's diverse experience through prior stints extends to prestigious global financial entities such as Tata AIA Life Insurance Company in partnership distribution and with Ahli Bank (QSC) as Head of Direct Sales. He has also worked with HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank in various capacities.
Subhankar has been recognised as the 'Innovator of the Year in BFSI' at the 2nd BFSI Leadership Summit & Awards, 2023. He holds a B.Com. from the University of Kolkata and a post graduate diploma in Business Management from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Kolkata.
Dr. POONAM TANDON
Chief Investment Officer
As the Chief Investment Officer at IndiaFirst Life, Dr. Poonam Tandon heads investment management for the organisation. Poonam is an accomplished veteran with keen insight on the financial markets and investment management in the BFSI sector.
In her 13-year-long association with IndiaFirst Life, Poonam has managed several portfolios, namely the Corporate Group business, the Debt portfolio in ULIP and Traditional Fund, Liquidity Management, Asset Allocation for Investment in Equity in the traditional portfolio and contribution to the Asset Liability Committee (ALCO).
In an illustrious career spanning ~30 years in the financial services sector, Poonam has worked with several leading insurance entities, including MetLife India Insurance, Paternoster LLC, Securities Trading Corporation of India (STCI) and Industrial Development Bank of India. Poonam’s noteworthy achievements include being a part of the team that established the corporate bonds desk in 2001, and the 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 been a regular visiting faculty at the National Institute of Securities Markets (NISM) from 2010 to 2012. She has delivered guest lectures at the RBI Bankers Training College, NMIMS (Mumbai), and UTI Institute of Capital Markets, among others. She has authored two papers that have been published in international peer-reviewed journals focussing on 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 post graduate diploma in business management. She received her PhD in financial management from NMIMS, Mumbai.
Chief Technology and Data Officer
As the Chief Technology and Data Officer at IndiaFirst Life, Sankaranarayanan Raghavan is responsible for technology, data and data sciences strategy, implementation, and efficiency monitoring.
He has over 30 years of experience in life insurance, digital strategy and business management. Prior to joining IndiaFirst Life, he was the chief operating officer of Aegon Life Insurance Company. His career includes stints with Aegon Life Insurance, HCL Technologies, Computer Sciences Corporation India and Life Insurance Corporation of India.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in science and an MBA from Bharathidasan University. He has also completed the post graduate programme in management for senior executives from the Indian School of Business (ISB) and is currently a fellow of the Insurance Institute of India and the Life Management Institute.
Chief Risk Officer
As the Chief Risk Officer, Sunder Natarajan oversees the risk, fraud control, internal audit, information security and legal functions at IndiaFirst Life. He is responsible for embedding the risk management framework, establishing the Environment, Social and Governance function, strengthening the information security protocol and implementing good corporate governance in the organisation.
Previously he was Head, Distribution Strategy, at IndiaFirst Life, where he helped build an integrated bancassurance model with partner banks. Additionally, he established a sales training module and launched mobile learning for the sales team as well as the distribution partners.
Sunder’s work experience in the insurance industry spans nearly three decades with proven excellence across diverse functions including governance, sales, operations, customer service and retention, strategy, business planning, training, and communication. He has had prior stints at Aviva India, Royal Sundaram General Insurance & Ogilvy India.
Sunder is on the strategic advisory board of the Institute of Risk Management (IRM) India Affiliate and is the Deputy Chair for the IRM India Regional Group.
Sunder is a commerce graduate from the University of Madras with a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from NMIMS, Mumbai. He has successfully participated in an Accelerated Leadership Programme from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and is a Certified Fellow of the Institute of Risk Management, London.
As the Appointed Actuary at IndiaFirst Life, Bhavna Verma oversees all aspects of the actuarial function, including regulatory and shareholder reporting, product development and management, and financial and insurance risk analysis.
Bhavna’s wide experience in Indian, Asian and the UK markets gives her expertise in all actuarial facets of life insurance. 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.
Bhavna 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. 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. Bhavna has a B.A. (Hons) in Mathematics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University.
SVP & Head - Branch Ops, Persistency & Financial Ops
Naman Gupta is SVP & Head - Branch Ops, Persistency and Financial Ops at IndiaFirst Life. His role encompasses ensuring customer continuity, managing branch operations and ensuring timely payouts to customers throughout their policy life cycle. He also manages the operational risk and quality teams for robust and strong control of operational processes.
As a founding member of IndiaFirst Life, he has played a significant role in setting up and defining the company’s operations and service departments. Passionate about delivering customer delight, Naman is a proponent of our #CustomerFirst philosophy.
Naman began his journey at IndiaFirst Life as a business analyst and then went on to head the New Business Operations department. Prior to his current role, he was Head - Customer Service and Channel Services.
His breadth of experience includes stints at the Stock Holding Corporation of India, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance and Reliance Retail, where he not only played a key role in setting up multiple branches, but also managed branch operations diligently.
Naman is a commerce graduate and holds a post graduate degree in management studies with a specialisation in Finance and Marketing from the Institute of Public Enterprise, Hyderabad.
AMEY PRAMOD PATIL
SVP & Head - Credit Life BOB
Amey Pramod Patil is SVP & Head - Credit Life - BOB Channel at IndiaFirst Life and leads strategy and sales for the Credit Life business.
A founding member of the company, Amey has been instrumental in ensuring robust growth across different sales verticals. Under his leadership, the Group Credit Life channel has witnessed phenomenal growth and expansion across the country. His previous roles within IndiaFirst Life were National Head - GCL Channel and National Head - Bancassurance West Zone channel.
He has over two decades of industry experience and has been associated with companies such as Reliance Nippon Life Insurance and Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance.
Amey holds a Master of Financial Services degree, an LLB and BCom degree from Goa University.
SVP & Head - Marketing
Abhijeet Powdwal is SVP & Head - Marketing at IndiaFirst Life. He currently spearheads the company’s Marketing, Corporate Communication, Customer Experience and Digital Marketing functions.
A seasoned industry professional, his breadth of experience spans over 25 years across brand management, advertising, PR, digital marketing, sales, and customer acquisition. He has been associated with notable companies in the BFSI industry such as IDBI Bank, ICICI Bank and IDBI Federal Life. In addition to this, Abhijeet has also donned different hats during his stint in strategic consulting with different organizations.
Abhijeet holds a PGDBA from K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management and a BSc from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.
SVP & Head - Strategy BOB Channel
Sameer Gupta is SVP & Head – Strategy, BOB Channel, at IndiaFirst Life. His role encompasses driving sales and distribution strategy for the channel to ensure new business growth, while focusing on creating value through product and process innovation. He is also responsible for building effective sales enablement programs, developing strategies resulting in a winning proposition for all stakeholders and designing products that meet the requirements of business tripod.
A founding member of IndiaFirst Life, he has significantly contributed towards organisational growth through varied roles in sales, business development, key account management and distribution strategy in addition to securing and executing profitable partnerships.
His professional journey spans over 25 years in the insurance industry. Prior to joining IndiaFirst Life, he was associated with companies such as HDFC Life and Canara HSBC Life Insurance where he gained a rich experience in sales across the Agency and Bancassurance channels.
Sameer holds a PGDBA from the Centre for Management Development, Modinagar.
SVP & Head – Finance Controller
Nalin Bhandari is SVP & Head - Finance Controller at IndiaFirst Life. In his current role at the organisation, Nalin's responsibilities include overseeing end-to-end finance, taxation, finance operations, internal controls, auditing, and statutory compliances.
With over two decades of experience, his expertise lies in fundraising, working capital management, cost management planning, finance operation, due diligence, controllership, process implementation and relationship management.
Over the years, Nalin has worked in start-ups and established organizations across diverse sectors, such as insurance, power, and agro-based industry. He has had stints with IDBI Federal Life Insurance, Kotak Life Insurance, Enercon India Ltd, and Bajaj Hindusthan Ltd.
Nalin holds a commerce degree from Jai Narayan Vyas University, Jodhpur, and is a qualified Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).