Who is Vivek Ramaswamy, the 37-year-old Indian-origin CEO running for US president in 2024?


Nikki Haley is not the only Indian-American with her eyes on the most powerful seat in the world. Now Indian-origin healthcare and tech sector entrepreneur, Vivek Ramaswamy, has declared his candidacy for the United States president.

After Haley, the 37-year-old has emerged as a  Republican challenger to former US president Donald Trump who declared his reelection run last November.

“I am proud to say tonight that I am running for president to revive those ideals in this country,” Ramaswamy said in an interview with Fox News. “I think we need to put ‘merit’ back into ‘America’ in every spirit of our lives.”

“This isn’t just a political campaign; this is a cultural movement to create a new dream for the next generation of Americans,” he emphasised. He said his campaign is “about the unapologetic pursuit of excellence in our country. It means you believe in merit; that you get ahead in this country not on the colour of your skin but on the content of your character and your contributions”.

So who is Vivek Ramaswamy and what are his plans for the 2024 US presidential elections? We take a look.

The rise of Vivek Ramaswamy

Born to Indian immigrants, Ramaswamy is a native of southwest Ohio. His mother was a geriatric psychiatrist and his father worked as an engineer and a patent lawyer at General Electric, reported The New Yorker.

As per a Politico report, Ramaswamy went to Harvard for undergrad where he studied biology and got a law degree from Yale. He started his career as a biotech investor and developed medicines.

Ramaswamy founded the pharmaceutical research company Roivant Sciences in 2014 where he made hundreds of millions of dollars, reported The New Yorker.

Vivek Ramaswamy
Vivek Ramaswamy started his career as a biotech investor. Reuters File Photo

He is also the executive chairman of Strive, an asset management firm, that aims to convince companies to shun politics and social issues, as per Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper. Strive is financially backed by the likes of Peter Thiel and Bill Ackerman, noted Bloomberg.

Politico also reported that Ramaswamy also makes frequent appearances on Tucker Carlson’s show.

According to a Forbes report in 2016, Ramaswamy's net worth was US $600 million.

Dubbed the “CEO of Anti-Woke Inc” by The New Yorker, Ramaswamy is the author of the book Woke, Inc: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam. He is an anti-ESG or environmental, social, and governance crusader who warns about the threat of “wokeism” and socially-responsible investing, reported Politico.

The businessman has been vocal against “woke capitalism” which he says is companies focusing on cultural and political issues instead of profits and innovation, as per Bloomberg. 

Ramaswamy's plans for the 2024 US elections

In a column published in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) titled “Why I am running for President”, Ramaswamy wrote, “America is in the midst of a national identity crisis. We hunger for purpose at a moment when faith, patriotism and hard work are on the decline. We embrace secular religions like climatism, Covidism and gender ideology to satisfy our need for meaning, yet we can’t answer what it means to be an American.”

“The Republican Party’s top priority should be to fill this void with an inspiring national identity that dilutes the woke agenda to irrelevance. Instead, many top Republicans recite slogans they memorized in 1980 or criticize left-wing culture without offering an alternative. To put America first, we need to rediscover what America is. That’s why I am running for president,” he opined.

As per Politico, Ramaswamy is exploring a potential campaign with a focus on “revitalising the American spirit and bringing back a culture of merit into society”.

Speaking to the publication, he said, “I believe that I’ve developed a vision for American national identity that I have deep conviction for and is the product of my own journey of having lived the gifts that this country has afforded me”.

“And the combination of both doing it intellectually and having personally experienced that vision of our nation makes me well suited to articulate that and deliver on it,” the businessman added.

Vivek Ramaswamy said he is running for president to help rediscover America. Reuters File Photo

A team in the making

Before announcing his bid, Ramaswamy met power brokers and delivered speeches in Iowa and other key states to ascertain audience response, as per Bloomberg. He has also assembled a team of around 20 people who will aid him in his presidential bid.

Former Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Kathy Barnette may head his potential grassroots campaign and Tricia McLaughlin – who worked for Ohio governor Mike DeWine’s 2022 reelection campaign – will be his press secretary if the entrepreneur begins campaigning, reported Politico.

He has also hired Republican operative Rex Elsass’ political consultancy to run his potential bid, which will have Elsass’ top deputy Ben Yoho as the “CEO”.

Terry Branstad, the former governor of Iowa who Politico described as a “political kingmaker” in the state, has said he is ready to give Ramaswamy a chance. “Iowans are very open-minded, and they’re very willing to listen and make up their own mind,” Branstad added.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Mark Weaver, a veteran GOP consultant in Ohio, said Ramaswamy – who has never held an elected office yet – should rather stand next year for the US Senate seat currently held by Sherrod Brown.

“Vivek is a very talented man with a strong message about equality in government,” Weaver said. “But he will need to prove himself at a lower level in government before he runs for president.”

Even if his chances are slim, Ramaswamy, Politico mentioned, is likely to take them. “You know, maybe all of this is ill-advised and I’ll fall flat on my face,” he said, adding, “I don’t think that’s gonna happen.”

With inputs from agencies

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Who is Vivek Ramaswamy, the 37-year-old Indian-origin CEO running for US president in 2024?
Who is Vivek Ramaswamy, the 37-year-old Indian-origin CEO running for US president in 2024?
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