Miss India India 1990: Maria Jagannathan

I can hardly wait to ask her about it. The younger daughter of India’s billionaire Ruia brothers, Nayar is a power-packed player in Indian wealth circles. A self-made billionaire, she owns the Body Shop…

Miss India India 1990: Maria Jagannathan

I can hardly wait to ask her about it. The younger daughter of India’s billionaire Ruia brothers, Nayar is a power-packed player in Indian wealth circles. A self-made billionaire, she owns the Body Shop brand, a drugstore chain and a fashion empire and more. They have inherited the $5.3 billion fortune of their father, P.R. Nayar and brothers.

Nayar earned a business degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1981 and arrived in India with one year’s schooling. She opened her first store with her then husband within a year. She was working for the family’s textile business when the Body Shop was first established. The couple got married after she opened an Indian store and got a large real estate deal completed.

The couple divorced in 1997. They have two sons, Liam and Eli. They will inherit all Nayar wealth. The billionaire was married to a Briton, Sir Christopher Snowdon, in 2000 but they divorced three years later, according to a Forbes article published in October 2002.

Nayar has been a very powerful woman in Indian wealth circles. She has played vital roles in assembling the array of businesses she now runs. In September 2014, Nayar was named the Number One Woman Elected to the Board of Directors of FTSE 100 Companies.

Kirsty Morson, the UK-based managing editor of Forbes has written an in-depth article on Nayar and her empire here.

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