Chairman and managing director of Biocon Ltd, felicitated with Padama Shri (1989) and Padma Bhushan (2005) awards, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw’s pioneering efforts in biotechnology have drawn global recognition both for Indian industry as well as the Biocon company. She chairs Karnataka’s Vision Group on Biotechnology and has also served on the Board of Science Foundation in Ireland. She presently serves on the Advisory Council of the government’s department of Biotechnology where she has been instrumental in bringing government, industry and academia together, to chart a clear and progressive growth path for Biotechnology in India. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is also a board member of Bio-Ventures for Global Health (BVGH).
Recipient of several prestigious awards including the ET Businesswoman of the Year, Best Woman Entrepreneur, Model Employer, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Life Sciences & Healthcare, Leading Exporter, Outstanding Citizen, Technology Pioneer, Kiran is one of the richest women of the country. A successful technocrat of global standing, she is highly respected in the corporate world. She is a much sought after biotech pioneer who has been referred to as “India’s Biotech Queen” by The Economist and “India’s mother of invention” by the New York Times. She was awarded the Wharton- Infosys Business Transformation Award in 2006 for heading the Biotechnology sector in India. Nature Biotechnology has recently voted her the most influential Bio-business personality outside Europe and USA.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw received a graduate honours degree in Zoology from Bangalore University in the year 1973 and qualified as a Master Brewer from Ballarat University, Australia (1975). She also received an honorary Doctorate of Science, from her alma-mater, Ballarat University, in recognition of her pre-eminent contributions to the field of Biotechnology. She is married to John Shaw, a Scotsman and Indophile, who headed a leading textiles MNC, Madura Coats from 1991-1998 as chairman and managing director. After which John Shaw joined Biocon as director, International Business and is the vice-chairman of the Board.
She has received many honours and accolades for her entrepreneurial achievements such as the prestigious Nikkei Asia Prize for Regional Growth and Express Pharmaceutical Leadership Summit Award for Dynamic Entrepreneur in 2009. In 2004, she was deemed as the ‘Businesswoman of the Year’ by the Economic Times. Kiran received the ‘Veuve Clicquot Initiative’ for Economic Development for Asia and Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Life Sciences and Healthcare in 2002. Some of her other awards include the ‘Corporate Leadership Award’, University of Abertay, University of Glasgow, Dundee and Heriot-Watt University. Kiran ranks on number 80 on Forbes list of 100 most powerful women (2012). Her philanthropic goals and business goals are closely aligned. Her overarching business strategy is to develop affordable therapies for chronic diseases. She is the most notable giver. She is working to improve cancer care and has pledged to give away 75 per cent of her wealth. She was honoured for her work in trying to provide good quality cancer treatment and affordable care as well as pledged to give away three-fourths of her wealth, estimated at USD 625 million by Forbes last year. Since 2005, she has donated some USD 33 million for philanthropic causes, diagnosing and researching the disease and caring for patients. In 2009, she built a 1,400-bed Mazumdar-Shaw Cancer Center in Bangalore. She aims to blend good quality cancer treatment with affordable care. The board has a radiotherapist, a medical oncologist, a pain specialist, a speech and swallowing expert, a financial expert and a sociologist.
Her unique vision has steered Biocon’s transition from an industrial enzymes company to an integrated biopharmaceutical company with strategic research initiatives. Biocon is today recognised as India’s pioneering biotech enterprise.