When Natarajan Chandrasekaran took over as chief executive officer of TCS in 2009, some of the media and analyst commentary would inevitably focus on the company’s operating margins which compared unfavourably with that of Infosys. Chandrasekaran, 50, has not only doubled TCS’ revenue but also made India’s largest software company the industry leader on the margin front.
Two key strategies helped Chandrasekaran do this.
Tata Consultancy Services is not known for the flamboyance of its nearly 3-lakh-strong team. Its top executives have operated in the shadows and helped build a company whose revenue is expected to exceed $12 billion (Rs 75,000 crore) by March 2014. Jochelle Mendonca and Varun Sood shine the spotlight on four key deputies of chief executive N Chandrasekaran
First, he aggressively met customers and made sure that they felt reassured about working with TCS. “He’s constantly meeting clients,” said a senior executive. Executives recall receiving text messages containing words of encouragement before their meetings with clients. After the meetings, they say, Chandrasekaran would check back with them no matter how late it was in India. Second, after succeeding his mentor S Ramadorai as the third CEO of TCS he decentralised the organisation for quick deci ..
Heads TCS’ business in North America, the UK and Europe—a post he was elevated to in 2011.
Joined TCS: 1980
Alma Mater: IIT Delhi
Strengths: One of the oldest hands at TCS, with a stint of over 33 years; worked across sectors. At 58 he is also one of the oldest in the senior team.
Highlights: Heads geographical verticals that currently account for almost 80% of the IT company’s revenues.
Industry observers find Kant to have “a pulse on deals” and“good contacts with the business and technology leaders in North America”.
Credited for: Helping TCS break into the Japanese market in the mid-80s, at a time when the American IT majors were the dominant players.
One senior executive at the Mumbai-office of a global consulting firm recounts Kant’s masterstroke of “know your client strategy”, which helped TCS break ground in the US, again in the mid-80s and helped TCS gain traction.
His approach then, which now seems to have become defacto rule for all successful IT firms, was that only TCS team members of particular vertical would service the requirements of clients. So if a client, say a major bank, seeks help of TCS, the company would deploy employees of only banking and financial services industry or BFSI, to attend to the company’s requirements.
Under his watch, TCS’ North America operations recorded revenue growth rates of 29.62% in 2011 and 27.44% in 2012; TCS UK business grew 29.16% in 2011 and 44.34% in 2012; business in Europe rose at an impressive 41.62% in 2011 and 21.26% in 2012.
Ravi Viswanathan, 51
President of growth markets—India, APAC, Middle-East & Africa, a post he was elevated to in 2011
Alma Mater: National Institute of Technology, TiruchirappalliJoined TCS: 1990.
Strengths: TCS’ “Mr Dependable”, as the company always looks up to him to steer a business segment out of trouble.
A case in point: Helping telecoms vertical record an uptick in growth during 2004-2010 when the sector was going through a torrid time.
Highlights: Worked across sectors, building clients in Europe in the 90s; Worked with the Bankers at the time of TCS’ Initial Public Offer in 2004.
Credited for: Charting the European story for TCS during the 1990s.
Under his watch, TCS’ Asia Pacific and China operations recorded revenue growth rates of 7.56% in 2011 and 27.06% in 2012; TCS’ Middle-East and Africa business grew at 2.13% in 2011 in 2012.
Viswanathan helped TCS’s telecoms business grow from Rs 1,424 crore in 2004-05 by to Rs 4,365 crore by the end of March 2010.
He enjoys reading, both fiction and management. His favorite author is John Grisham. He is also a self-confessed Golf addict.
Amur Lakshminarayan, 52
President of business group— telecom, hi-tech, media & IS, utilities, a post he was promoted to in 2011
Joined TCS: 1983
Alma Mater: Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani; London Business School
Strengths: He is considered a good manager with a strong technology focus. He helped create the UK business for TCS; TCS’ outperformance in telecoms verticals is credited to the leadership of Lakshminarayan and Ravi Viswanathan.
In 2011, when he was asked to head the new “emerging verticals”, including hi-tech and media, many thought he was being “sidelined” but Lakshminarayan’s performance leading the verticals has been impressive with the share of all four segments to the total revenue improving.
Highlights: Strong technology background, team player, built the UK business and helped TCS’s telecom business outperform the industry. Member of TCS Global Leadership team.
Credited for: Building the UK business, helping bring the telecom business through the tough times in the telecom industry.
Since Amur took over the current verticals in 2011, TCS has recorded impressive growth rates across verticals: Of TCS’ total revenues of Rs 37,325 crore, hi-tech accounted was 4.91% of revenues while telecoms’ share was 14.18% of the company’s total revenues.
By the end of March 2013, hitech accounted for 5.85% of Rs 62, 989 crore while telecom, media and entertainment counted for 11.97% of company’s revenues.
Abid Ali Neemuchwala, 46
Vice president and global head of business process services and process excellence
Joined TCS: 1993.
Alma Mater: Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay; National Institute of Technology Raipur
Strengths: One of the youngest executives heading verticals at TCS.
He has worked closely with most of the clients in TCS’biggest market, the US, in his earlier position as VP global delivery and services. Added experience of heading the BPO division has helped him build relationships across key clients across sectors. Neemuchwala was mentored by Chandrasekaran, before he was given the charge of heading the BPO vertical.
Highlights: Be it the TCS e-Serve or expanding BPO operations across APAC, Neemuchwala is credited for helping the company increase revenues in the segment.