The Corporate Women
Where Women are reshaping the corporate world

Naina Lal Kidwai: Trailblazing Leadership in Finance and Business


Naina Lal Kidwai, born in 1957, stands as a prominent figure in the realms of finance and business, leaving an enduring impact on these sectors. Serving as the Chairman of Max Financial Services Ltd, she has carved a remarkable career path characterised by leadership and innovation. Let’s delve into the life and achievements of this exceptional Indian banker, chartered accountant, and business executive.

Early Life and Personal Background

Born into a Hindu family of the Punjabi Khatri community in 1957, Naina Lal Kidwai’s upbringing was marked by proximity to wealth and privilege. Her father, Surinder Lall, held a CEO position at an insurance company, while her mother was part of the prestigious Thapar Group, founded by Karamchand Thapar. Naina’s diverse interests include music and a love for nature, often indulging in trekking adventures in the Himalayas.

Education and Early Career

Naina Kidwai embarked on her educational journey at Lady Shri Ram College for Women, graduating in 1977 with a degree in economics. A subsequent pursuit of an MBA at Harvard Business School, completed in 1982, solidified her academic foundation. Additionally, Kidwai is a qualified chartered accountant.

Career Highlights

Her illustrious career kicked off at ANZ Grindlays, where she held key positions, including Head of Investment Bank and Head of Global NRI Services. Roles at Standard Chartered Bank and various managerial positions in investment banking across India marked her journey. Notably, from 1994 to 2002, she served as the Head of Investment Banking at Morgan Stanley India and JM Morgan Stanley.

Naina Kidwai’s current role as Chairman of Max Financial Services Ltd is complemented by her positions as Chairman of HSBC Asset Management (India) Pvt Ltd and HSBC InvestDirect (India) Ltd. She also serves as a non-executive director on the boards of Nestle SA and Altico Capital Partners.

Outstanding Leadership at HSBC

Naina Kidwai’s association with HSBC has been pivotal. As Group General Manager of HSBC Holdings Plc and Chief Executive Officer of HSBC India, she played a crucial role in shaping the bank’s trajectory. Her leadership extended to serving as Deputy Chief Executive Officer of HSBC Holdings Plc and Head of Corporate & Custodial Services at HSBC Bank.

Recognition and Awards

Acknowledging her contributions, Naina Kidwai received the prestigious Padma Shri award and the ALL Ladies League’s Delhi Women of the Decade Achievers Award in 2013. Fortune Global consistently listed her among the Top Women in Business, while the Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine recognised her as one of the Global Influentials.


Naina Lal Kidwai’s journey, from her upbringing in a prosperous family to her trailblazing leadership in finance and business, serves as a beacon of inspiration. Her dedication, tenacity, and commitment to excellence continue to shape the financial landscape, leaving an indelible mark on the industry and inspiring the next generation of leaders.



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