Sharma has had to work hard to reach where she is today. An IIM (Ahmedabad) pass-out, she wasn’t handed a job appointment even after a week of campus placement. This incident affected her confidence level temporarily but she did not give up. It made her more determined to achieve the best in life and she joined ICICI Bank as a Project Officer. At the bank, she reportedly faced opposition from a few insiders who expressed apprehension about her capabilities to handle the responsibility. Her strategic thinking, great execution skills and enterprising leadership style helped her accomplish her goals. Her performance did not go unnoticed and in 2009, she was appointed as the Managing Director & CEO of Axis Bank. Her work ethics, ability to take up challenging tasks and executing them in the most transparent manner garnered great admiration from her colleagues.
At the time of her appointment, Axis Bank was already doing well. So one of her most challenging tasks was to maintain the health of the bank and work towards taking it to a new level. Since her appointment, Axis Bank has added more than 400 branches and approximately 400 ATMs to its network. The bank has expanded to more than 900 cities and towns in India and has grown to be India’s third largest private bank, after ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank. In recognition of her work and the phenomenal success that Axis bank has witnessed during her leadership, the bank’s board approved her reappointment as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the bank for a further period of three years with effect from June 01, 2012 to May 31, 2015.
Apart from being a great manager, Sharma has utilised her position well as the head of Axis Bank to do her bit for the society. Axis Bank has started the Axis Foundation to carry out corporate social responsibility tasks across the country. As a part of this, Axis bank plans to work towards the skill development and vocational training of 50,000 people in West Bengal’s Murshidabad and South 24 Parganas districts in order to provide sustainable livelihoods in the most needy and deprived districts of India ensuring that at least 60 per cent of the beneficiaries are women.
As a perfect blend of intellect and grace, add to it a kind heart, Shikha Sharma has emerged as an inspiration for many Indian women.