In a move that has been long-anticipated, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has chosen N Chandrasekaran to take over from S Ramadorai as chief executive officer and executive director. Ramadorai's term comes to an end on 8 August.
However, Ramadorai is likely to continue on an extension till 5 October, 2009, when he completes 65 years of age.
Post retirement, Ramadorai is expected to be redesignated as vice-chairman for the next 10 years. He will continue to be associated with TCS in a non-executive capacity.
Chandrasekaran, known as simply Chandra at TCS, takes over as CEO on 6 October, subject to approval of shareholders. After Francisco D'Souza of Congnizant Technology Solutions, Chandrasekaran will be one of the youngest CEOs to head a major IT firm at 45 years of age.
According to sources that are familiar with his management style, Chandrasekaran is expected to steer the company more aggressively taking some bold initiatives in the process.
Starting his career at TCS, Chandrasekaran moved to head the firm's SEEPZ operation, before taking over the reins as global head of sales. In 2007, he, along with three others were elevated to the position of executive director. His career graph parallels that of Ramadorai who joined TCS in 1972 and rose through the ranks to take over as CEO and MD from the legendary Fakir Chand Kohli.
Chandrasekaran brings to his new position a sharp business acumen for which he is well known and also a keen technical mind – qualities that have been instrumental in his rapid rise up the corporate hieararchy.
TCS' foray into the Latin American market is credited to his keen sense of opportunity. In his first major responsibility as general manager (SEEPZ) in the '90s he handled the General Electric account with distinction. General Electric was a key TCS customer contributing around 10 per cent of its revenues.
Chandrasekaran had also done a year-long stint under Ramadorai, a vantage position from which he closely observed the building of one of the largest of India's software companies and the jewel in the Tata crown.
Other Tata Group companies that will see their CEOs retire this year include Tata Steel and Tata Motors. Tata Steel COO H M Nerurkar, 60, is widely believed to succeed current M D B Muthuraman while Tata Motors M D Ravi Kant is rumoured to continue for a year or so.
Nerurkar and Chandrasekaran were appointed to newly created positions, COOs, in 2007.