Mala Murthy, the CFO of Teladoc Health, brings a unique blend of financial expertise and leadership acumen to the corporate landscape. With a diverse career spanning 17 years at PepsiCo and seven at American Express, she has become a seasoned financial strategist and a vocal advocate for the evolving role of CFOs in today's dynamic business environment.
Her journey began in Calcutta, India, where she was raised in a middle-class household. Despite the challenges of growing up in a city with limited resources, her parents instilled in her a belief that there were no limits to what she could achieve as a woman. Armed with this mindset, she pursued engineering and later transitioned to business school, setting the stage for her remarkable career.
Murthy’s professional trajectory took an unexpected turn when Microsoft visited her campus for interviews. Her two-to-three-day interview became a pivotal moment, securing her a spot among 29 Indians selected to visit the United States. This marked the beginning of her American adventure and the launchpad for a distinguished career.
Her financial journey includes significant tenures at PepsiCo and American Express. Her roles at PepsiCo, where she worked in various finance functions, including strategy and M&A, laid the foundation for her adaptability and resilience. Moving mid-career to American Express, she navigated the challenges of a different industry and culture, emphasizing the importance of stepping outside one's comfort zone.
In 2019, Murthy assumed the role of CFO at Teladoc Health, a $3.7 billion remote-health business. Little did she know that, just nine months into her tenure, the world would be thrust into the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Teladoc Health experienced a surge in demand, with daily visit traffic climbing fourfold or fivefold. Murthy's leadership during this critical period showcased her ability to steer the company through unprecedented times.
Beyond her CFO responsibilities, she has expanded her impact to board service. As a board member of Avantor, a global supplier of mission-critical items to the healthcare industry, she brings a unique perspective that bridges governance, leadership, and management.
In a recent interview, Murthy shared insights on career transitions and the evolving role of CFOs. She emphasized the importance of recognizing one's strengths, taking calculated risks, and embracing a growth mindset when venturing into new industries. Her advice to financial professionals contemplating industry shifts is grounded in her own experiences, where adaptability, humility, and a willingness to learn played pivotal roles.
As a working parent, she acknowledges the challenges of balancing her professional and personal lives. With her daughter Ria now independent and off her payroll, Murthy reflects on the choices made along the way, recognizing the inevitable trade-offs that come with a busy career.
Murthy’s story is a testament to the power of resilience, adaptability, and a growth mindset in the ever-changing landscape of finance and leadership. Her journey from Calcutta to the corporate boardroom exemplifies how embracing challenges and continuously learning can lead to lasting success.