Simon Dawson—Bloomberg/Getty Images
April 15, 2015

You can’t miss Chanda Kochhar as she walks through the Congress Centre at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, or into a meeting of the board of directors of the Institute of International Finance, always resplendent in an elegant sari.

Her calm, soft-spoken and understated demeanor belies her strength of conviction and clarity of thought.

When Chanda speaks, people listen carefully.

She has shaped retail banking in India ever since she assumed her pivotal role in establishing ICICI Bank during the 1990s. As managing director and CEO since 2009, she has brought India’s largest private bank a global vision and impressive returns, while also reaching out to the nation’s masses with branches in remote villages where banks simply didn’t exist.

When young women turn to her for advice, she tells them to put aside their unconscious inhibitions, saying, “Don’t give up on something just because you think you can’t do it.”

I have yet to find anything Chanda can’t do. She’s a first-class leader, strategist and friend.

Jain is a co–chief executive officer of Deutsche Bank

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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