As one of the most enterprising ethnic groups in the United States, Indian and South Asian Americans didn’t disappoint in 2017. They made headlines in a range of fields, and a few of them for the wrong reasons. Here are newsmakers in media and business this year.
New Editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair
Radhika Jones, a former editorial director of the books department at The New York Times and a former top editor at Time magazine, took over as the editor of Vanity Fair Dec. 11. Jones took over from Graydon Carter, 68, who announced in September that he would step down at the end of the year after 25 years of overseeing the publication’s content. Jones, 44, was born in New York to an American father, Robert L. Jones, and an Indian mother. She grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and Ridgefield, Connecticut. Jones lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son. She has a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and holds a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, where she has also taught courses in writing and literature.Jones began her career in Moscow as the arts editor of English language The Moscow Times. She was the managing editor of The Paris Review before moving to Time in 2008. During her employment at Time she oversaw its yearly listing of 100 most influential people and Person of the year. In 2016 she joined The New York Times as the editorial director of the books department.
A Banner Year for Microsoft CEO
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made headlines this year for achieving company targets, including its bid to revolutionize cloud computing for business that vastly increased the company’s own cloud computing revenue. Microsoft’s move to the cloud led to reorganizations inside the company, the latest of which led to job cuts in its global marketing and sales team. Wall Street has been applauding Nadella too. Shares of Microsoft have more than doubled since he became CEO. Most of Microsoft’s biggest bulls are betting on the fact that the company is a strong growth story built on continued success in the cloud, all under Nadella’s leadership, according to a Street.com report. Nadella, the third CEO in Microsoft’s 42-year-long history, was largely credited as carrying the company successfully into the 21st century. Nadella also made just more than $20 million in cash and stock over the company’s most recent fiscal year after nailing his annual performance report. “The Company widely adopted leadership principles that help its leaders deliver clarity, generate energy, and deliver success,”the street.com quoted Microsoft’s board as saying. Nadella was praised for his score of an even 100 percent on “Product & Strategy.” The board rated him highly for the rapid growth of Microsoft’s $18.9 billion cloud computing business, which encompasses the Azure cloud platform as well as the Office 365 productivity suite. The year was reportedly Nadella’s best year as Microsoft CEO at least in terms of his personal fortune: In the previous fiscal year, Nadella took home $17,692,031, with the wind-down of Microsoft’s smartphone business hurting his bonus.
Nisha Desai Biswal
From Foggy Bottom to Head of USIBC
Former Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal was appointed the new president of the U.S. -India Business Council. The council is in a state of reorganization, following the departure earlier in the year of most of its directors on the board who went on to form the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum. “We are thrilled to welcome Biswal to the U.S.-India Business Council and to the U.S. Chamber team,” said Myron Brilliant, executive vice president and head of International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce of which USIBC is an appendage. “She is a driven, visionary leader who has a strong record of advancing United States business across the growth markets of Asia and throughout India. Under her strong leadership, we’re confident the U.S.-India Business Council will play a critical role growing commercial partnership, investment, and innovation across the world’s oldest and largest democracies,” Brilliant said. Biswal was assistant secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs in the U.S. Department of State from 2013 to 2017, where she oversaw the U.S.-India strategic partnership during a period of unprecedented cooperation. During that time she helped launch the U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue. She previously served as assistant administrator for Asia at the U.S. Agency for International Development. “I am honored and excited by the opportunity to lead the U.S.-India Business Council and to join the leadership of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce during a period of historic opportunity for both countries,” said Biswal, who came on board in October. “As one of the most significant and fastest-growing markets,” Biswal said, “India is an important economic partner for the United States. Likewise, Indian companies are investing in ever greater numbers here in the United States. I am proud to be part of an organization which will play such a critical role shaping U.S.-India relations, and I am thrilled at the chance to help our companies deliver a brighter, more prosperous future for the citizens of the United States and India.”