Leadership

Parag Raja

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer

Parag Raja is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Bharti AXA Life Insurance. His career spans more than two decades in distinguished firms such as Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance, Max Life Insurance, ICICI bank and ANZ Grindlays Limited. He is a Postgraduate in Marketing Management from the esteemed Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from HR College and a Master in Commerce from Sydenham College, Mumbai

Before joining Bharti AXA, Parag was the Chief Distribution Officer at Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance where he planned and executed the strategic direction for expanding the organization’s footprint across the country while spearheading its robust sales growth. He also established a vital Bancassurance relationship with HDFC Bank which went on to be one of the key drivers for Aditya Birla Sun Life’s growth. While working with Max Life, Parag was instrumental in building a formidable partnership with Axis Bank to create the largest non-captive and third-largest bancassurance relationship in the country.

He is in charge of leading the company through its next phase of growth and transformation. Parag is a conscientious and result-oriented leader which has been validated by his proven track record in delivering sustainable outcomes.

Parag is in charge of developing the overall strategy for the growth of the organization and for deploying resources to achieve business objectives. He is the public face of the organization and takes significant decisions which determine the direction of the organization’s growth trajectory. He plays an integral role in creating and implementing the vision and the mission of the organization. Parag engages closely with the board of directors to define the long term goals for the organization and establish best in class corporate governance practices . He oversees the operations of the organization with the assistance of the entire leadership team. As the principal value enabler, Parag’s responsibility is to ensure that the organization delivers value to multiple stakeholders including customers, employees and shareholders.

Geetanjali Kothari

Head – Marketing and Corporate Communications

Geetanjali Kothari is the Head of Marketing and Corporate Communications at Bharti AXA Life Insurance. She leads Brand, Marketing, Corporate Communications and Customer Experience initiatives for the organization.

Geetanjali has 16 years of experience across BFSI, media and retail industries in organizations such as Bharti AXA General Insurance, Future Group, HT Media and Mudra Max. She has completed her Post Graduate in Marketing.

At Bharti AXA Life, Geetanjali and her team strategize and implement multiple marketing and advertising campaigns across conventional and new forms of media. As the Head of Marketing, Geetanjali is committed to being the prime innovation catalyst and empowering her team to experiment with new ideas, utilize state of the art platforms and explore alternative media. Her vision is to augment marketing efforts by embellishing it with robust capabilities such as measurable frameworks, digital fluency and analytics.

She is also responsible for spearheading engagements with our channel partners and customers by driving multiple initiatives. She is focused on transforming marketing into a significant growth enabler while remaining a vocal customer champion within the organization. She shares a keen interest in marketing research and believes that placing the consumer at the core of communications is the art of marketing.

Jaishankar Balan

Head – Human Resources

Jaishankar Balan is the Head – Human Resources at Bharti AXA Life Insurance. He leads the HR agenda across domains like talent management, learning & development and compensation & benefits.

He has almost two decades of experience in the HR domain across consumer goods and manufacturing sectors in blue-chip organizations like Marico Ltd, Colgate-Palmolive (India) Ltd. and the Aditya Birla Group. He holds a graduate degree from Sydenham College of Commerce & Economics, Mumbai, and a Masters in Personnel Management from the Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune.

In his current role, he is the primary custodian of culture and employee well-being within the organization. Further, he is responsible for creating an enabling environment of learning and growth for the expanding workforce of the company and also driving performance-centricity while deploying appropriate tools of reward and recognition. 

Murli Jalan

Head - Tied Agency & Direct Distribution

Murli leads Tied Agency and Direct Distribution at Bharti AXA Life Insurance. He has close to three decades of experience in sales & business development across manufacturing, banking and insurance sectors with strong command on quality distribution build-up. Murli has previously worked with Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance Co. Ltd.,Max Life Insurance and TATA AIA. 

Murli has been at the forefront of designing, reviewing and transforming strategies to optimise tied agency and direct distribution verticals. He regularly combines leading best practices with market generated insights to bring about measurable improvements across key performance metrics. Under Murli’s leadership, the agency and distribution channels have been galvanised to achieve exponential business growth. By implementing multiple initiatives, Murli and his team have bolstered the agency channel and empowered our agents to forge deeper engagements with prospects and customers. He has enabled our direct distribution team to emerge as a formidable revenue generation engine by leveraging opportunities across new and existing customers. 

His incessant focus on cultivating and nurturing enduring relationships with the agency and distribution partners has augmented our business development endeavours.

Nilesh Kothari

Chief Financial Officer

Nilesh Kothari is the Chief Financial Officer at Bharti AXA Life Insurance and handles financial direction, oversight and financial control. He has been a vital part of the organization’s financial domain since 2008. Before joining Bharti AXA Life Insurance, Nilesh was heading planning and budgeting control at SBI Life Insurance. Nilesh is a Chartered Accountant by qualification.

Nilesh provides leadership, direction and guidance on finance and accounting. He has extensive exposure across strategic planning, finance control, investment operations, procurement, IFRS reporting and profitability analysis. He plays an integral role in defining corporate strategy and is a formidable counsel for the board, management and the CEO. His responsibilities are multidimensional and span across financial forecasting, preparation of the budget, overseeing financial reporting as well as managing relationships with key stakeholders and external partners.

Nitin Mehta

Chief Customer Officer

Nitin Mehta is the Chief Customer Officer of Bharti AXA Life Insurance. He leads customer service and operations. Nitin has close to two decades of experience across geographies such as India, Indonesia, Thailand and China by working in organizations like Amway, Frito-Lay, KPMG and Aditya Birla Group. Nitin is a qualified Chartered Accountant and holds an MBA from ISB, Hyderabad.

As the Chief Customer Officer, he is the foremost customer champion with the organization. Nitin plays a vital role in crafting corporate and customer strategies and the highest levels to maximise delight, retention and profitability across all touchpoints and phases of the customer journey. By stimulating and executing customer led initiatives, Nitin and his team are involved in driving customer renewal and expansion. Nitin and his team are zealously committed towards attaining customer delight and are dedicated towards maintaining and growing customer loyalty.

Pankaj Gupta

Chief Technology Officer

Pankaj Gupta is the Chief Technology Officer at Bharti AXA Life Insurance. Pankaj manages IT strategy, enterprise architecture, digital transformation and the delivery of large-scale technology enabled business transformation programs. 

He has more than two decades of experience and has had stints with renowned firms such as Tata Consultancy Services, Fidelity International and Max Life Insurance Company Limited. Pankaj has completed his Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science from NSIT (formerly Delhi Institute of Technology).

As the CTO, he provides seasoned leadership at the confluence of business and technology within the organization. His role involves creating the strategic roadmap for leveraging technology as a critical business enabler.

Pankaj provides technology governance for defining and implementing IT policies and practices at an enterprise level. Pankaj and his team enable our organization to stay ahead of the technology curve by tracking emerging technology trends. He is the principal technology evangelist within the organization and is a key enterprise-wide change driver. 

Rahul Bhuskute

Chief Investment Officer

Rahul Bhuskute is the Chief Investment Officer at Bharti AXA Life Insurance.

Rahul is a tenured investment professional with over two decades of diverse and extensive experience across organizations such as ART Special Situations and ICICI Group. Rahul has completed his MBA from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai after completing his engineering at VNIT, Nagpur. He is also a certified CFA, having completed all three levels of the course by CFA Institute, USA.

At Bharti AXA Life Insurance, Rahul leads an astute team which manages substantial investment portfolios. Under his leadership, his team engages with treasury departments of banks, insurance firms as well as rating agencies for enhanced decision making. He also liaises with external portfolio managers, investors, analysts and other stakeholders. He defines investment objectives and develops the roadmap to achieve them. His team also evaluates potential investment opportunities for deploying surplus funds. His responsibilities comprise conducting periodic analysis of the holding portfolio versus the benchmark as well as liquidity management across funds. His role also involves overseeing liquidity analysis and stress testing portfolios. Under his supervision, his team prepares investor analysis reports that offer significant insights.

Richit Ummat

Head - D2C & Online Sales

Richit Ummat is the Head of Digital & Online Sales at Bharti AXA Life Insurance. He has close to two decades of experience across firms such as Bharti Enterprises, docprime.com (a Policy Bazaar subsidiary), Apollo Munich Health Insurance, Dhanlaxmi Bank and Reliance Capital. Richit has completed his MBA from Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Delhi. 

Richit manages the direct-to-consumer business and digital partnerships (including Airtel). By deploying online platforms, Richit and his team are running a formidable sales engine for our organization. His team has shaped partnerships and alliances for entering new business territories and discovering growth synergies. He leads a high performing and optimised online sales team which has been delivering substantial value to consumers during the new normal. 

Sandeep Mishra

Head - Partnerships, Group Business, Business Development & Distribution Training

Sandeep leads the Corporate Agency & Broking, Bancassurance, Emerging Markets (Joint initiative with AXA), Group Business, Business Development and Distribution Training portfolios.  He has close to two decades of valuable experience in relationship management and building partnerships across distribution channels in his past roles at premier insurance firms. Prior to joining us, Sandeep has previously worked with Aditya Birla Sunlife Insurance and Max Life Insurance. Sandeep is an Economics honors graduate and has completed his PG from Times School Of Marketing, New Delhi. 

Sandeep is deeply involved in formulating strategies to discover areas of growth and expansion for the organization through partnerships. He continues to demonstrate excellence in motivating his team to consistently achieve business goals. He recognises the value that can be unlocked by building enriching channel partnerships and building synergies across people and processes. His exceptional relationships with major banks have translated into significant growth opportunities for the bancassurance vertical. Sandeep and his team have expanded the group business portfolio by providing relevant offerings to reputed corporates, renowned  MNCs and fast growing enterprises. His responsibility also includes spearheading training initiatives across the distribution channel. 

Sanjay Sabharwal

Head – Alternate Agency

Sanjay Sabharwal is the Head - Alternate Agency at Bharti AXA Life Insurance. In this role, he is responsible for designing and executing strategies for driving business growth through alternate agency channels. He possesses an overall experience of more than three decades, predominantly in successfully running extensive distribution channels for organizations across consumer durables and life insurances and has worked with firms such as Reliance Life, Future Generali India Life Insurance and Max Life Insurance. Sanjay has completed his Master in Business Administration in Marketing/HR from Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Ghaziabad

He and his team propel multiple initiatives to forge profound and productive relationships with agency partners. By wielding a multi-pronged approach, Sanjay empowers agency channels to emerge as one of our key strategic growth enablers. Sanjay’s role also involves optimising operational efficiencies and improving productivity across the alternate agency channels. 

Varun Gupta

Chief & Appointed Actuary

Varun Gupta is the Chief & Appointed Actuary at Bharti AXA Life Insurance. He has close to two decades of diverse experience in strategic and leadership roles across leading organizations in the Indian life insurance sector. Varun has worked with esteemed organizations such as Max Life Insurance Pramerica Life Insurance and Tata AIA Life Insurance. He is a B.Tech (Mechanical) from IIT-BHU and went on to do an MBA in Finance & Marketing from IIM-Calcutta. He completed his fellowship from the Institute of Actuaries of India and Institute of Actuaries of UK in 2007 and is involved with the Institute of Actuaries as Chairperson of their Examination Group

His role is vital in analysing the financial cost of risk and uncertainty. Varun and his team are involved in designing insurance policies and determining premium pricing which is pivotal in enabling our organization to maintain significant competitive advantage. By leveraging technology and statistics, he enables the organization to craft inimitable risk models for predicting and measuring emerging risks. He is also responsible for the assessment of underwriting risk for the purpose of managing reinsurance across the organization. 

Vinod Benedict D'souza

Head – Legal, Compliance and Company Secretary

Vinod D’Souza is the Head of  Legal, Compliance and Company Secretary at Bharti AXA Life Insurance. He leads legal, compliance, fraud control and the company secretarial functions for the organization. Vinod is an accomplished professional with more than 18 years of professional experience under his belt, including 16 years in the life insurance industry. Before coming on board with Bharti AXA Life Insurance, Vinod had impactful stints in distinguished organizations such as Birla Sun Life Insurance, Thomas Cook and Internet Securities Inc. Vinod is a Company Secretary and holds graduate degrees in law and commerce from the University of Mumbai.

Vinod and his team handle legal affairs, fulfil compliance requirements and administer fraud control practices. Vinod’s role involves identifying and mitigating legal and regulatory risks. He plays a key role in aligning legal and compliance policies with corporate strategy. Vinod’s team ensures that people and the organization adhere to regulatory requirements and internal policies. Implementing fraud detection and control mechanisms are other important responsibilities which are handled by Vinod’s team.

Vipul Sharma

Chief Risk Officer

Vipul Sharma is the Chief Risk Officer at Bharti AXA Life Insurance. He brings in two decades of experience in risk management, internal audit and operations management. He has worked with HDFC ERGO Health Insurance, ICICI Prudential Life and ICICI Bank. He holds a Masters degree in Finance and Control and is also a certified Information Systems Auditor.

Vipul’s leadership enables our organization to exercise vigilance and manage multiple forms of risks. Vipul is responsible for creating effective risk management strategies and ensuring their adoption across the organization. Vipul and his team maintain a robust ecosystem for measuring risks, providing guidance and imbibing risk mitigation into offerings and transactions. 

Vipul utilizes internal audits, process reviews, stress testing, fraud and cyber risk models for assessing overall risk to improve controls and restrict residual risk at acceptable levels. 

He is also a custodian of our organization’s risk appetite and plays a vital role in enabling or amending business decisions based on effective risk measurement metrics.