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As heir to the HCL group, with at least $6 billion in revenue, one of Roshni Nadar Malhotra’s options was to join the business. But the 30-year-old daughter of Shiv Nadar, founder of HCL Technologies Ltd and HCL Infosystems Ltd, chose to put herself in charge of the Shiv Nadar Foundation’s philanthropic initiatives instead.

Malhotra’s appointment as chief executive of holding company HCL Corp. in 2009 triggered speculation about her role in policymaking for the technology firms. However, Malhotra has stuck to the task of managing the family wealth that comes from its stakes in both HCL Technologies and HCL Infosystems. Her father said in January that she would take over his current position as chairman, without saying when the change would be made.

Malhotra, currently driving the VidyaGyan initiative that provides free education to students from underprivileged backgrounds, says her plate is full and doesn’t plan to take up a corporate role. “I don’t think it was ever on the agenda and it isn’t even now." VidyaGyan runs two schools—in Bulandshahr and in Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh —and is looking to open a third.

The foundation also runs an engineering college in Chennai and two Shiv Nadar schools. It has so far spent 800 crore toward building the schools and colleges.

“VidyaGyan is doing well and I am very excited about it," says Malhotra, who is married to Shikhar Malhotra, a distributor for Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt. Ltd, and now the chief executive of Shiv Nadar School. Roshni Malhotra, who is also a trustee of the foundation, says the “family has a stake in both the companies (HCL Technologies and HCL Infosystems) so at a corporation level it is for us to protect our investments in the company". But her involvement will not be “operational".

“They have been managed very well for the last 35 years, and I am sure they will continue to be," says Malhotra, an only child.

She has an undergraduate degree in radio, television and film from Northwestern University in the US, and later pursued post-graduation in business administration from the Kellogg School of Management with a focus on social enterprise and management and strategy. “I did not want to be an engineer or be in information technology and my parents were supportive of my decision," she says.

Shiv Nadar says he never felt Roshni should take on a larger corporate role. “She brings tremendous energy and commitment to the foundation’s initiatives."

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