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Revathi Advaithi, only Indian-origin CEO on Most Powerful Women in Biz list, is a BITS Pilani alum, advocates STEM education for girls

Having begun her career as a shop floor supervisor, Advaithi still believes walking the factory floor is the best part of her job.

, ET Bureau|
Sep 25, 2019, 03.44 PM IST
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Advaithi was the only girl in a class of all boys during her mechanical engineer course.
Here’s what you should know about Revathi Advaithi, CEO of Flex, a Singapore-headquartered (but California-based) manufacturing and logistics company, who ranked 33rd on the list.

Fortune magazine recently released its list of the 50 most powerful business women in the US and it featured a single Indian-origin CEO – Flex’s Revathi Advaithi.

Advaithi, who took the top spot at Flex just eight months ago, entered the list at 33rd position and was one of the few newcomers on what the magazine refers to as their most competitive list yet. Of the 36 women running Fortune 500 companies, only 22 earned a spot on this year’s list.

The magazine said Advaithi ‘claimed the corner office of Flex at a trying moment for the $26.2-billion-in-revenue company. After hitting a five-year high of nearly $20 in January 2018, the stock averaged $10 in Advaithi’s half-year in the job.’

Here are a few interesting facts about the Indian born CEO:

Scaling the Ladder
A mechanical engineer who grew up on the shop floor, Advaithi was appointed as CEO of the Nasdaq-listed company just a few months ago when her predecessor CEO Michael M. McNamara stepped down. She assumed the position on February 11, 2019 and is focused on ‘moving the company beyond its high-profile former customer.’

Prior to Flex, Advaithi was president and COO for the electrical business for Eaton, a power management company with over $20 billion in sales, 102,000 employees and a market capitalization in excess of $33 billion. According to the Flex corporate website, she managed the largest of Eaton’s businesses, securing more than $13 billion in sales in 2018. She also had corporate responsibility for the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions.

Strong Advocate for STEM
“I always tell people there’s nothing unique about my background or my trajectory that other people can’t do the same way,” she told Fortune. “So I’m hopeful that this inspires and motivates many young women who are in engineering school or STEM to stick with it and make their way through it, to have amazingly successful careers that they’re passionate about.”

She is a strong advocate for STEM education for girls and holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in Pilani, India and an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

“Girls were going into engineering in India at the time that I went into engineering so that wasn’t unique but being a mechanical engineer was definitely unique. I was the only girl in a class of all boys and I would love to see more women and girls take up this field of engineering.”

Home on The Factory Floor
Having begun her career as a shop floor supervisor on a factory floor in Shawnee, Oklahoma, Advaithi still believes walking the factory floor is the best part of her job, even as a CEO. She told Fortune, “There’s something magical about being in a factory floor, watching something being made and nothing can replace that.”

Gita Gopinath, Pinelopi Goldberg: Women Economists Who Rule The World

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Banking On Women

7 Mar, 2019
In a changing world, women are matching strides with men, breaking barriers and setting new boundaries. As workplaces become more inclusive and diverse, we see women taking charge across the sectors. The world of finance and economics, too, has seen the rise of woman power. Women economists, across latitudes, are calling the shots in leading global financial organisations. From the World Bank to the International Monetary Fund, it's women all the way. Here's looking at these power bosses, and their inspiring journeys to the top. In Pic (l to r): Anshula Kant, Gita Gopinath and Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg.
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