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    Tribute: Aisha de Sequeira was a bright young star who blazed a trail in financial services

    Tribute: Aisha de Sequeira was a bright young star who blazed a trail in financial services

    Tribute: Aisha de Sequeira was a bright young star who blazed a trail in financial services
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    By Moneycontrol News  IST (Published)

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    Amit Chandra, Chairman & MD, Bain Capital India, remembers Aisha De Sequeira, the co-head of Morgan Stanley India, who passed away last week.

    Humility, charm, intellect, integrity, competence, loyalty, and sheer goodness are difficult qualities to find together in an individual. This is a particularly rare combination to find in the financial services industry for someone who has served in it for over 25 years.
    Aisha de Sequira, who died too soon last week, was a remarkable leader of the industry. In her early 40s, she had risen to be a powerful voice as Morgan Stanley’s Co-Head of India. As a woman, she was a great role model for other women wanting to enter financial services. I believe she was also a great role model for men in how to build their careers in this field.
    Aisha, who lived a remarkable 50 years, was born into a renowned Goan family. Her grandfather Dr. Jack de Sequeira was a President of the United Goans Party, and her father was a Member of Parliament. After her early education in Goa, she went on to get her engineering degree there, after which she went to Yale for her MBA. Soon after, she joined Morgan Stanley’s M&A Group, on Wall Street, in 1995 – a firm she did not leave until her last breath.
    In late 2007, Aisha moved back home to Mumbai to Morgan Stanley’s Investment Group, soon after the split of their Joint Venture with JM Financial. In that period of rebuilding, she was able to pilot Morgan Stanley into a dominant M&A and IPO franchise.
    In May 2013, she was appointed as co-country head for Morgan Stanley in India, in addition to her role as head of investment banking in India. She worked on many landmark deals, but conversations with her tended to not be boastful, and this made her a lot more endearing to clients.
    Around five years ago, cancer suddenly struck Aisha’s life. I vividly remember that we had just met a few days before this happened, and there had been no warning signs. It had suddenly been discovered and she had decided, based on expert advice, to immediately fly off to New York for the best possible treatment there.
    Over the coming months, we would keep in touch, and once she was out, I went to visit her at her NYC home. A few things really struck me – how determined she was to fight the disease and get her life back on track; and how many people had rallied to offer their assistance during her illness, to make sure that she had the best possible care. She told me about the kindness of PepsiCo's former CEO Indra Nooyi, who was a mentor to her; about how leaders like N Chandrasekaran and Mukesh Ambani had all been so kind in helping in whatever way they could. The law of Karma was clearly at work.
    If you were Facebook friends with Aisha, you got a window into her life. What she loved most was her family, especially her three lovely boys, and Roy, their father. She would often post endearing videos and photos of things they would do. My favourite was a cute rendition of Hamilton by 8-year-old Alexander.
    She had a lovely smile, and I rarely found her complain about something. In fact, it was tough to find a social media rant by her – she was always positive about things.
    One of her friends wrote that she said she “Never questioned why fantastical things happened to me all the time, then why be a hypocrite and question cancer now?”
    The world of financial services has lost a star. A role model, both for women and men, has departed too soon.
    To Roy de Souza, Nathan, Alexander, Erasmo, and everyone at Morgan Stanley, our deepest condolences. May Aisha’s soul rest in eternal peace. May we all be inspired by her and filled with the best memories of her time here.
     
    -by Amit Chandra, Chairman & MD, Bain Capital India.
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