Faces of Modern Leadership: Shakti Jauhar 

Kira Ciccarelli
4 min read

The Faces of Modern Leadership series spotlights rising directors who are part of Diligent’s Modern Leadership initiative, a network of nearly 700,000 CEOs, board directors and executives. Modern Leadership aims to impact diversity, equity and inclusion at more than 25,000 organizations worldwide, dedicated to building the largest, most diverse pool of highly qualified directors and executives in the world. 

Shakti Jauhar is an experienced and data-driven executive with global operational expertise in manufacturing, information technology, finance, and human resources. Shakti has led several successful digital transformation and automation campaigns in multiple functions at companies like PepsiCo, Reliance, and ABB. He currently serves as an Independent Board Director for World Education Services, where he also sits on the Technology Committee and chairs the Compensation Committee. He is also an Advisory Board Member to Censia and Acadian Ventures.

Shakti is also the Co-Founder and CEO of Mechanism Wellness, one of the first of its kind digital corporate and individual wellness platforms that leverages functional medicine as an approach to deliver personalized wellness plans to employees and their family members.

A Multi-Sector and Data-Driven Background

In his career spanning over three decades, Shakti served as a Senior Manager at ABB and Vice President of Process Automation at Reliance Industries Limited before an extensive 23-year-long stretch at PepsiCo, where he served as the CIO and BPR Head in South Asia, a Director of Financial Shared Services and Planning, Senior Director of Global Benefits and Wellness, and Senior Vice President of Global HR Transformation, Operations and Shared Services.

Shakti gives some background on his career trajectory so far: “I have been very fortunate; my career has taken me into a number of interesting areas from International roles, P&L management, and strategy to board services. Through my journey, I developed functional expertise as a CIO in traditional technologies, digital innovation, and cybersecurity, as a non-conformist CIO having lived in multiple functions. I also worked in different industries at companies such as ABB, Reliance Industries, and PepsiCo. As someone who has worked across functions, I am passionate about seeing technology come to life and transform businesses, having done this time and time again with senior leaders, CEOs and boards.

He discusses the need for diversity in the boardroom: “The board of all CEOs is not a diverse board. I bring diversity that a lot of boards are lacking: Global cross-functional experience with deep transformation, HR and startup innovation experience. I believe my experience augments what a C-suite candidate brings to the table, leading to a well-rounded board.”

The Secret Sauce for Success

For Shakti, being a continuous learner, having keen listening skills and empathy coupled with business understanding, his process engineering background and the ability to keep up to speed with evolving technology landscape is his secret to success: “Today, the majority of organizations are looking to transform their business and are looking to leverage new technology innovations. Having led multiple successful global digital transformation initiatives, I have a unique set of experiences that can help an organization avoid the pitfalls of transformation” He goes on, “over 70% of transformations today do not deliver the expected results and with the right guidance and support the companies can significantly increase their chances of success.”

Thoughts on The Evolution of the CIO 

Shakti discusses the changing role of the CIO and other digital transformation experts: “The role of the CIO used to be very traditional,” he says, “It was managing and deploying technology infrastructure and software applications working with businesses to automate or streamline processes. Now, CIOs need to know a lot more about the business and understand how to leverage the technology innovations happening around them.”

He uses the cloud as an example: “The cloud infrastructure has really changed how the CIO thinks about their role. A similar evolution occurred with on-premise software applications where SaaS has now become the norm. The CIO role is now more of a business role, it’s focus has shifted to help the organization transform on an ongoing basis. I believe the CIO role will continue to evolve over the next decade and may even get embedded back into the business/functions or within the transformation office.”

A Passion for Giving Back

Shakti then turns to one of his passion projects: Mechanism Wellness a start-up that he co-founded with his wife. He discusses the impetus for taking this project on: “We had some serious health issues within our family and when traditional medicine had no solutions, we found answers with Functional Medicine, leading my wife, Mona, a registered clinical dietician to join the Institute of Functional Medicine and expand her practice. Since then, she has helped numerous patients who came through the doors of her clinic. We felt responsible to bring accessible, affordable Functional Medicine to all, leading us to build Mechanism Wellness where we offer individuals and corporates a unique digital, personalized wellness program rooted in functional medicine.”

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Kira Ciccarelli
Kira Ciccarelli is the Lead Researcher at the Diligent Institute. Diligent Institute is the modern governance think tank and research arm of Diligent Corporation, the leading provider in board collaboration software. In her role, Kira works to conduct and provide high-level modern governance research to inform director decision-making and identify best practices.