Marathon man of Indian IT services

Written by Rachana Khanzode | Mumbai | Updated: May 30 2009, 04:41am hrs
A stickler for discipline, focused and a family man. This is how his friends and colleagues describe him. Meet N Chandrasekharan, the chief-executive-officer-in waiting for the countrys largest IT services and business process outsourcing company, TCS.

Interestingly, Chandraas he is popularly knownhas never had any official training in management. Yet, you cant challenge his leadership skill and his domain expertise, says one of his colleagues.

The man behind many strategic transitions in TCS, including expanding its business portfolio to include BPO, infrastructure and consulting services, 45-year-old Chandra is a visionary and wants to take TCS to the next level of expertise.

For the records, Chandrasekharan joined TCS in 1987 and climbed up theladder to become the COO and executive director. Now, the task is cut out for Chandrasekharan. He is taking over at a time when things are getting tough by the day, another colleague sums up the way ahead for his. When Ramodarai took over TCS was a Rs 600-crore company and he took the company global, to reach around Rs 28,000 crore. A huge achievement indeed. But for Chandra the challenge will be to grow and yet to be profitable, this colleague says.

And the biggest challenge of all would be to tackle a big shift taking place in the global outsourcing industry, the exclusive preserve of India even until a few years ago. New contenders are emerging in the form of China, Russia and Eastern Europe. That said, India still controls close to 65% of the global outsourcing industry and derives an estimated $50 billion in annual revenues from it. Research and development operations for information technology in cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad are some of the most expansive in the world, with many Fortune 500 companies operating their research centres out of India.

But the man behind the Europe, China and Latin American operations of TCS is unperturbed. Another close friend of Chandrasekharan says, His vision has always been to compete with companies like IBMhe never spoke anything below that level. Since TCS became public quite late compared to Infosys and Wipro, across the world, when people think of the Indian software industry, TCS doesnt really come top of mind.

Thats despite the fact that is the number one company in its sector. So Chandra will not only have to make it recognised but also ensure it is perceived as the No 1 company.

What may make the task easier for Chandrasekharan is the extremely strong relationships he has built with clients across the globe. Chandras client connect is extremely strong, says another colleague. His tenacity will also hold him in good steadhe ran Mumbai Marathon twice and completed the entire course!