Alumni Profile: Indro Mukerjee

Date Published: 23.11.2021

Indro Mukerjee (Engineering, 1979), CEO of Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, is guest speaker at Wadham Entrepreneurs networking event in London on 25 November (all welcome).

Ahead of the event, we caught up with Indro to discover more about his career since leaving Wadham and his tips for future leaders and innovators.  

Innovate UK supports UK business with cash and non-cash resources to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy - delivering productivity, new jobs and exports.

Indro Mukerjee is an experienced leader who has led publicly listed, corporate multinational and private equity backed fast-moving technology companies as CEO.

The strategic, operational, and entrepreneurial ability to develop, grow and structure and transform a broad range of different sized companies has given him real insight into the skills necessary to be a good leader. He sees his latest move as an incredible opportunity, very different to anything he has done previously.

“My move to Innovate UK is a very vocational thing – a chance to make a massive difference that is vital to our economy and to society. Jobs are created through innovation and leaders have a role to play in broader society.”

Born and raised in inner London, with Indian/Italian parents, both manual workers, Indro was the first in his family to go to university and wanted to go to Oxbridge. However, picking Wadham was random as he had no school or family advice to lean on: “It turned out I made a good choice. Oxford was so different than anything I’d previously experienced, and I’m so pleased that I was at Wadham.  I chose Engineering as I knew it would be practical and, coming from a poor family, I needed to earn money as quickly as possible.  The Oxford course was comprehensive, and I became interested in electronics. At the end of my Oxford studies, I vowed I would never do another exam again so the only higher education I have had post Wadham was a senior leadership programme at Wharton.“

Until we have equality, I believe pro-active programmes are important and at Innovate UK we are setting up a number of programmes to encourage diversity in business innovation.

After leaving Oxford, Indro didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do but he knew that he needed to earn and needed experience. So, he found a position with a technology consultancy, working on diverse technology strategy projects across different industries and countries which gave a lot of fast-track experience. “This gave me the chance to see different industries and ways of working and work out what I’d like to do”.

One of the industries he worked in was electronics, and, after two years decided to join the semiconductor arm of Japanese corporation Hitachi, progressing rapidly upwards in the management structure, spending a lot of time in Japan and rapidly earning a lot of empowerment, which was not typical in that environment. “I discovered an affinity to leading people as well as being successful selling and marketing high technology. My technical education gave me the confidence to understand enough to be able to talk with and learn from experts. I applied what I learned to creating and selling solutions to customers”.  

Not one to miss out on an entrepreneurial opportunity, Indro saw an opportunity to broaden his experience. “I left a ‘safe’, large-scale, blue chip company and joined a tech start up in the UK. VideoLogic was the precursor of Imagination Technology and within a year of my joining we had successfully floated the business on the London market.” In his role as Commercial Director Indro enjoyed formative periods in the US as well as negotiating joint ventures and commercial deals in Japan and Germany.

He was considering leaving to start his own business, when he was approached by Philips Semiconductors BV (now NXP) to lead one of their large business divisions. So, he decided to move to Eindhoven with his family and he added Dutch to his repertoire of European languages. Over an eight year period he progressed to several global CEO and executive Vice President positions and the Executive Board.  Much of his time was spent in the US and Asia and he still maintains many contacts and friendships around the world which developed from this period. “When I joined Philips, I didn’t expect to get to that kind of high profile, global responsibility at what was a relatively young age. It was certainly demanding and fast paced but also very fulfilling. I especially enjoyed the privilege of being able to both work with and help develop some brilliant people”.

In 2005, Indro decided to move back to London to join a private equity backed high technology manufacturing company as CEO, and this started a new phase of his career.

Indro went onto several CEO assignments with private equity, venture capital and publicly listed technology companies which involved a great deal of business transformation including growth, successful mergers and acquisitions, restructuring, and spin outs.

Throughout this period, he demonstrated a strong passion for the development of skills in industry, especially among young people. He served on the SEMTA (now Enginuity) board which brought together UK industrialists to drive support for skills development across engineering, manufacturing and technology sectors and also co-founded and the UK Electronics Skills Foundation (

Indro has had a very successful, varied and fulfilling career, which he considers to be a privilege. “I’m fortunate to have been able to work hard and seen the results of that work. I’ve had the privilege to have been trusted to as a leader of many organisations and to have been able to work with many special people. I’m privileged to have been able to choose what I wanted to do, a choice that many people never have, including my parents. I’m privileged to have had the chance to work in many countries and to build connections and friendships around the world”.

From his own experience he values the importance of access and is acutely aware that an individual’s background and circumstances can have a significant impact on opportunities in life. This means an emphasis on inclusion and equity. “There should not be barriers on the outside or inside but what you go through as a child forms you and access opportunities and respect for the individual are very important to me.”

“Until we have equality, I believe pro-active programmes are important and at Innovate UK we are setting up a number of programmes to encourage diversity in business innovation."  

“The experience and confidence that an Oxford education gives you is a springboard – what you do with that springboard is the most significant thing. Obstacles to progression can come from different sources and supporting those who would not make it without help is important to me. I feel that society needs to change around people- we should have the freedom to be ourselves – not trying to fit into an existing social environment. As a senior leader I want to be able to stand up for people on the front line.”

Any further thoughts to share with Wadham students embarking on their career today? “Be curious. Don’t try to over plan your career- go with your instincts as things arise. Respect people, learn and remember their stories – there are incredible people at all levels and in all walks of life. Most people just want to do a good job- use your talent to lead or assist them to do that. Never forget how privileged you have been to have enjoyed an Oxford education.”

More like this

View all

Bioprinting to aid drug development

New bioprinting research from Wadham’s Alfonso Castrejón-Pita will allow scientists to recreate complex biological scenarios, such as niches where cancer grows, to study disease and develop drugs.

Find out more

Mark Thompson: Affordable prostheses bring employment hope to Indian amputees

Impacting affordable healthcare in India.

Find out more