Meera Sanyal

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Meera Sanyal
CEO and Chairperson of the Royal Bank of Scotland (India)
In office
Personal details
Meera Hiranandani

(1961-10-15)15 October 1961
Cochin, Kerala, India
Died11 January 2019(2019-01-11) (aged 57)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Political party Aam Aadmi Party
Spouse(s)Ashish J Sanyal
Parents Gulab Mohanlal Hiranandani
Banu Hiranandani
ResidenceMumbai, India
Alma mater Cathedral and John Connon School
University of Mumbai

Meera Sanyal (née Hiranandani; 15 October 1961 – 11 January 2019) was an Indian banker and politician. She served as CEO and chairperson of the Royal Bank of Scotland in India. The daughter of a highly decorated Naval officer, Vice Admiral Gulab Mohanlal Hiranandani, she was involved in banking for over 30 years before stepping down from RBS to stand as the Aam Aadmi Party candidate in South Mumbai in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, which she lost. She had earlier contested as an independent candidate in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections from the Mumbai South constituency.


She served on the board of Pradan, an Indian NGO that works to empower women through entrepreneurship and on the international board of Right to Play, a global organisation that has helped over 1 million children through the transformative power of play. She was also on the boards of Jai Hind College and the Indian Liberal Group. [1] She was a member of various national committees at the CII and FICCI. She was the former chairperson of the Indian Advisory Board of AIESEC, the world's largest student organisation. On 11 January 2019, Sanyal died of cancer.

Early life

Sanyal was born in 1961 to Indian Navy officer, Gulab Mohanlal Hiranandani, and his wife, Banu Hiranandani; a Sindhi family who migrated from Sindh to India at the time of the Partition of India. Her father was the mastermind of Operation Trident, the crippling Naval attack on Karachi, Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. [2]

Sanyal graduated in commerce (B.Com.) from Sydenham college Bombay [3] in 1982 with an MBA from INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France, [4] in 1983. She attended the six-week Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 2006. She was a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (UK). [5]

Professional and public life

After a 30-year banking career, Sanyal stepped down from her position as CEO and chairperson of Royal Bank of Scotland India, in 2013, to focus on public service. [6] During her time at the bank, she mentored the MicroFinance program, which financed over 650,000 women in rural India. She also chaired the bank's Foundation, providing livelihood assistance to 75,000 women-led households in threatened ecosystems. [7] Her banking career was distinguished both in India and overseas. She was the head of Corporate Finance and later the COO for ABN AMRO in Asia. She also started and led the global BPO and ITes for ABN AMRO / RBS in India.[ citation needed ]

Sanyal was a board member of Pradan, [8] [9] a member of the International Board of Right To Play, a global NGO that uses the transformative power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity. She was also a Board member of LiberalsIndia for Good Governance – the Indian Liberal Group, and served on the Supervisory Board of Jaihind College. She was a member of various National Committees of both FICCI and CII. [3] In 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, invited her as the sole Indian representative on her International Council on Women's Business Leadership. [10] [ non-primary source needed ]

She was invited to speak at global seminars including: [3] [ non-primary source needed ]

Political life

Sanyal stood in 2009 as an independent candidate for the Lok Sabha elections in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai attacks but lost the election. [14] Along with her husband, she campaigned and raised funds for the AAP in the 2013 Delhi elections. [15] She was a member of AAP's National Committee on Economic Policy. [16]

In May 2014, Sanyal contested 2014 Lok Sabha election from the Mumbai South constituency, as an Aam Aadmi Party candidate. [17] She lost, receiving 5.2% [18] of the vote cast in South Mumbai constituency, trailing at fourth position behind Arvind Sawant (Shiv Sena candidate, winner), Milind Deora (INC candidate) and Bala Nandgaokar (MNS candidate). [19]


On 11 January 2019, Sanyal died due to cancer after two years of treatment. [20]

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  1. Talk on Governance by Meera Sanyal, Former Country Head of RBS Archived 29 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine , CPPR
  2. "Vice-Admiral Hiranandani cremated with full Naval honours". The Hindu. 3 September 2009. Retrieved 13 January 2012.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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  6. Anita Bhoir (10 April 2013). "Meera Sanyal to quit Royal Bank of Scotland for a full-time career in politics". The Economic Times. ET Bureau. p. 1.
  7. "Meera Sanyal Interview- Globalinvesther". Archived from the original on 20 March 2014.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. "Meera Sanyal on Pradan board". Pradan. 31 January 2014. Archived from the original on 23 April 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
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  15. "Meera Sanyal canvassing for AAP". Times of India. 23 October 2013. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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  18. Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP needs a future plan; fatigue sets in for party’s small-time drama Archived 28 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine The Economic Times
  19. Maharashtra – Mumbai South, Results Declared Archived 29 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine Election Commission of India, 2014
  20. Nair, Arun (12 January 2019). "Meera Sanyal, Top Banker-Turned-AAP Leader, Dies After Battling Cancer". NDTV. Retrieved 12 January 2019.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)