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Ascend Pinnacle hosts Inaugural Awards Dinner

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Ascend Pinnacle

Hewlett Packard Enterprise chief executive Meg Whitman and former Rohm and Haas chairman Rajiv Gupta at last week’s inaugural Ascend Pinnacle awards ceremony.

PALO ALTO, Calif. (Diya TV) — Ascend Pan-Asian, a leadership group comprised of 20,000 members and 28 student chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada, hosted the organization’s inaugural awards dinner on Friday, bringing together the South Asian community’s best and brightest from the technology, manufacturing and industrial sectors.

Since the organization’s founding in 2005, Ascend has sought to enhance the  Asian presence in North America’s leadership and business communities.

S.K. Gupta, one of Ascend’s co-founders and the group’s managing director, said the organization’s presence is important in positioning South Asians at the top of Silicon Valley’s management. A point that is only further amplified when you consider the contributions the community has made to the valley’s growth and development.

“Even those (Silicon Valley companies) powered by them (Indian Americans), when it goes public, we seem to not be at the top of the organizations. Now we want respect, and you get respect by sitting on the boards of Fortune 500 companies.”

S.K. graduated from the University of Michigan with a BSE degree in naval architecture and marine engineering, he promptly began working for Lockheed Martin in 1982. There, he held assignments in engineering, business operations, business development, operations and program management on commercial, military and classified programs, including as the test director of the stealth ship Sea Shadow from 1988-1995.

He also served as the vice president of operations for Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company from 2001 until 2011.

It’s not just about equal representation, Gupta said the positioning of more Asian and Indian American on Fortune 500 company boards is based off merit.

“What we’re saying is that there are people of merit, who are Asian American, who just because they look different or talk different, should still be recognized.”

And that’s what Ascend is about, building a pipeline of visible, qualified Asian American executives, ripe for the picking of company boards.

“(Ascend) will continue to build and fill the pipeline so people can’t say that we don’t have qualified candidates. The long-term goal is that we get to a point where we won’t need an Asian American board directors network because they’ll already be a part of the system.”

Raj Gupta, the former chief executive officer and president of Rohm and Haas, attended the event and was presented with an award for his accomplishments.

From India, Gupta graduated in 1967 with a degree in mechanical engineering from IIT, Bombay, eventually earning his master’s from Cornell University and an MBA from Drexel. He joined Rohm and Haas in 1971, working his way from the ground floor to the board of directors, ultimately being elected chairman in 1999. He left Rohm & Haas after its $15.3 billion acquisition in 2009.

He currently serves as the chairman of Delphi Automotive, in addition to his standing on a number of public and private boards. He spoke to Diya TV about the honor of being Ascend’s first-ever honoree at an event.

“When S.K. called me and said ‘Raj, we want you to be the honoree,’ I was blown away,” he said. “The fact that this recognition is coming from the Asian American business community personally means a great deal to me. I am overwhelmed.”

Raj said this drive by Asian Americans to become more visible is no different than any other minority or gender push to close the gap in company management, it’s about finding a voice.

“I’ve been on 10 public boards and five private boards and I’ve never heard one chairman ask the question, ‘should we aspire to get an Asian board member?’. For me, it is important to raise the profile.”

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Former MGM executive Roma Khanna named Revolt TV’s next CEO

Former MGM executive Roma Khanna named Revolt TV’s next CEO

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Roma Khanna

Sean Combs Announces Roma Khanna CEO of Revolt TV

LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) — Sean Combs has announced Roma Khanna the CEO of Revolt TV.

“As Revolt continues to grow as a brand and expand globally, I knew we needed a seasoned executive with a proven track record to keep the momentum going and help me lead the network into the future,” said Combs. “Roma is that person. She has the experience and tenacity to build on Revolt’s success and as we continue to influence content and culture around the world.”

“After decades of building large-scale businesses in TV and media, I am excited to have the opportunity to work alongside visionary Sean Combs to get hands-on and redefine content models with a view to building a modern, relevant, global cultural brand,” said Khanna. “Revolt is ready to create and curate content and super-serve its audience on its own TV platform and beyond, living and breathing with its audience wherever they might be.”

Revolt says the company’s mission is to build on its platform to offer long- and short-form content revolving around hip-hop music and culture. According to Revolt’s website, “REVOLT is focused on expertly curating the best of the best in music and engaging youth in social conversation – on-air, on-line, on-demand. The multi-genre, multi-platform network offers breaking music news, videos, artist interviews, exclusive performances, and original programming.”

Revolt claims to have over 50 million young adult consumers through television, digital properties, social and mobile. REVOLT is accessible 24/7 – anytime, anywhere, any screen.

Khanna left MGM, where she served as president, in late 2015. She helped launch FX’s “Fargo” and History’s “Vikings.” She spent three years as president of global networks for NBC Universal’s international networks wing. She also oversaw the development of Hulu hit “Handmaid’s Tale.”

Revolt had been without a CEO for a year, since Keith Clinkscales left the company last August. Revolt launched as a linear channel in the U.S. in October 2013 and has since expanded to Africa and the Caribbean.

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Indian American Physician Vas Narasimhan Named CEO of Novartis

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Vas Narasimhan

Indian American Physician Vas Narasimhan Named CEO of Novartis

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Switzerland-based biotech giant Novartis says Indian American physician Vas Narasimhan will take reins as CEO on Feb. 1.

The 41-year-old Narasimhan joined Novartis in 2005. He currently serves as the company’s Global Head of Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer. He is also a member of Novartis’ Executive Committee.

“Both from a professional and a personal perspective, this is the right moment to hand the leadership reins of the company to Vas,” said current Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez. “Our strong pipeline and the strategic moves we have taken to focus the company have put Novartis on a strong path for the future. On the personal side, after 10 wonderful years in Switzerland, my family is ready to return to Silicon Valley and the U.S. I’m confident that Vas will be an excellent successor.”

Joerg Reinhardt, chairman of the Novartis board of directors, said the company anticipates “a smooth transition, as Joe built a strong leadership team and mentored his successor.”

Narasimhan graduated from Harvard Medical School. He also has a master’s in public policy from the university’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He earned undergraduate degree in biological sciences from the University of Chicago.

Prior to joining Novartis, he worked at McKinsey & Company, first as a consultant and then as an engagement manager.

An elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, Narasimhan has held a number of positions at Novartis.

Reinhardt expressed confidence in Narasimhan’s ability to lead the company to “expected next growth phase … The strength of Novartis is our ability to drive science-based innovation. Vas is deeply anchored in medical science, has significant experience in managing the interfaces between Research and Development and commercial units and has strong business acumen with a track record of outstanding achievements. As a physician, he has a strong patient focus and a genuine humane perspective and care for the mission and values of Novartis. As a result, the Board of Directors is confident that Vas is the right choice to lead Novartis on our expected next growth phase, driving innovation and further strengthening our competitive position.”

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Former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya to raise $500M for a large fund

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Charmath Palihapitiya

Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive and a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors is attempting to raise $500 million as he builds a large investment firm.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive and a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors is attempting to raise $500 million as he builds a large investment firm.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Palihapitiya is listed as CEO of “blank check company,” Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings. The company plans to raise $500 million in its IPO and subsequently acquire emerging private businesses that have little incentive to go public.

“Our mission is to create an alternative path to a traditional IPO for disruptive and agile technology companies to achieve their long-term objectives and overcome key deterrents to becoming public,” the filing said.

Palihapitiya has often condemned the traditional venture model and expressed his admiration for billionaire Warren Buffett, who erected Berkshire Hathaway into one of the World’s largest publicly-traded holding companies over a half century.

Social Capital is going to be more like a “bastard stepchild of Berkshire Hathaway and Blackstone and BlackRock” than a traditional venture firm, Palihapitiya said at an event in 2015.

One of Palihapitiya’s goals in the venture is bringing together “technologists, entrepreneurs, and technology-oriented investors,” the filing said.

The Wall Street Journal reported Palihapitiya’s team is planning to meet with investors soon, then initiating the IPO shortly thereafter on the New York Stock Exchange.

Hedosophia has offices in Hong Kong and London. Ian Osborne, CEO of Hedosophia, will be president of the new holding company. Former Skype CEO Tony Bates and former Twitter executive Adam Bain are among the Board members.

Palihapitiya spoke to Diya TV moments after the Warriors championship win in 2017

 

 

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