The top award this year went to Ajay Piramal, the man at the helm of Piramal Group. The Indian conglomerate has seen revenue pop by 34 percent in 2017 and net profit leap by 38 percent.
"I am extremely grateful and humbled by this" award, he told CNBC backstage after accepting his ABLA.
Piramal said he credits his company's success to a handful of seemingly simple, but critical decisions he and his early team made when he took over Piramal Group back in the late 1980s.
"We were fortunate to realize that pharmaceuticals was a good business to go into in India in 1988," he said. "But the most important thing is that we always ran an ethical and value-based company. So the best partners always came to us globally, and the best talent."
The number of employees at Piramal Group has mushroomed from 2,000 in the year 2000 to 15,000 today, and the company has increased operations to 30 countries. Along the way, it has expanded from textiles to more far-flung industries that include not just pharmaceuticals but financial services, real estate and packaging, among others.
Piramal Group engages in philanthropic work, and Chairman Piramal said those efforts are part of the company's success. His Piramal Foundation operates widely on the subcontinent, spearheading initiatives in health care, water, education and female empowerment across 21 Indian states.
Looking ahead, Piramal has set a goal of achieving a market capitalization of $20 billion by 2020. To get there, Piramal developed a program to select a pool of high-performing managers, and a separate initiative that includes a one-year intensive leadership development program.