In today’s business world, the role of a leader is perhaps more challenging than it ever was. A tough competitive environment, increased expectations from stakeholders — all within the space of a tough regulatory regime – leaves the leader little room for error or complacency, more so in the information age of current times requiring clarity of thought, courage and conviction to convert thoughts into action leading finally to the desired results.
Sunita Sharma, MD & CEO, LIC Housing Finance Ltd (LIC HFL) is a firm believer that the “buck stops with the leader”. She is that type of a leader who believes that her success, as quoted by Peter Drucker “is in lifting the people’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations”.
A Masters Degree in Science from Delhi University, she joined LIC of India as Direct Recruit Officer of 11th batch in 1981. As the first woman to head LIC HFL, country’s second-largest mortgage lender in its 25th year, Sunita Sharma had the responsibility of guiding the organization to its next level of growth. In December 2015, she was named as “India’s Best CEOs 2015” by Business Today – PWC India list of Top 100 CEOs in India. In February 2015, ABP Real Estate Awards presented her with “WOMEN SUPER ACHIEVER IN REAL ESTATE SECTOR”. In December, 2013 the Institute of Economic Studies (IES), New Delhi conferred her with “UDYOG RATTAN AWARD” for excellence.
The results in the last two years, both quantitatively and qualitatively, have been fantastic considering the overall depressed conditions in the economy. The Company had completed 25th year of its operations and the loan portfolio crossed the mammoth figure of INR One trillion. Total income surpassed INR 100 billion for the first time since inception. The Company won many accolades during this period.
LIC HFL has been named in the list of “Most Respected Companies” by BW/Businessworld. Further, it was adjudged “Sectoral Leader in NBFC category and ranked No.1”. Notable awards to the Company included Housing Finance Company of the Year 2016 by ABP News, 2014 Best Housing Finance Company by IBFA, 2015 Best Housing Finance Company by BFSI Awards, 2014 Best Housing Finance Company by Realty Plus Excellence Awards and 2015 Best Data Quality in Housing Finance Companies by CIBIL
What makes her unique and different is her management style in multiple roles as managing director, CEO, leader, visionary, counsellor and entrepreneur. It validates her personal traits and a passion to excel, sagaciously different in her operational style with an integrated approach. Over the decades, she has learnt that life’s journey is a process of learning, risk taking, envisioning and establishing newer frontiers only to be challenged and crossed again.
In her illustrious career of with LIC of India, she headed its Investments Department in the rank of Executive Director looking after equity research and risk management in 2013.
As Head of Pension & Group Schemes, she demonstrated her leadership abilities through phenomenal performance. During her stint of 4 years, premium income more than trebled to INR 460 billion from INR 105 billion between 2008 & 2012. The leader of today is the one who asks questions, listens carefully, plans diligently and then builds consensus among all those necessary for achieving the goals. That is what as Chief (Personnel) in LIC of India she did by conceptualizing and designing HR strategies for the organization.
While serving as Regional Manager (Estates & Office Services) she played a key role in LIC acquiring property worth more than INR 20 billion. LICHFL retraces its previous association with Sunita Sharma as Regional Manager of Northern Region covering the states of Delhi NCR, Rajasthan, Chandigarh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. She played a pivotal role in establishing new business models of separating sales and credit functions.
She is also the Managing Director of LIC HFL Care Homes Ltd and is on the Boards of LICHFL Financial Services Ltd, LICHFL Asset Management Company Ltd, LIC Mutual Fund Bhushan Steel Ltd. and Larsen and Toubro.
LIC HFL has commenced its journey of transformation from a ‘Good Company’ to a ‘Great Company’. It had a glorious past and holds a promising future. The Government of India is steadfast in fulfilling the aspirations of all households, particularly the poorest of poor to have a dwelling unit under its Mission, “Housing for All by 2022”. It is in deference to this commitment that LIC HFL will do what it takes to emerge as the front runner amongst peers to fulfil the dream of every Indian household to have a home of their own.
As a leader, Sunita Sharma believes in “creating an environment” conducive such that it motivates and propels employees to give their very best to achieve the corporate goals. In the present business environment, Sunita Sharma believes that the difference between a good and a great company is Corporate Governance practices of the Company. Her initiatives in this area have propelled LIC HFL to a pole position amongst corporate citizens in this country. LIC HFL today stands apart as an organization which is transparent in its business dealings and is compliant to all the principles of corporate governance in every aspect and is truly, an ideal corporate citizen.
Sunita Sharma prides herself a team player and believes in the power of human potential. She has shown initiative, courage and conviction when it comes to decision making and taking things to a logical end while always leading from the front. Her intellect, energy and integrity are integral to her personality counted by her colleagues. A “People’s Person”, her dynamic personality is her strength and she does not hesitate when it comes to reaching out and convincing people within the organization and outside.
The past two and a half years have been a dream run for LICHFL under the leadership of Sunita Sharma. “The best is yet to come”, she says. In her vision, she sees a LICHFL that is not only best in profitability and asset quality but one that continuously excels in its contribution to its stakeholders and a benchmark in corporate governance and thus becomes a truly great organization.