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The waves

As the Wind Blows

Location: Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

26 December 2003

It is transition time folks!

......In India Inc.

Even as the news of Ranbaxy’s Brar relinquishing his post as CEO hit the headlines and even before the story got to the desks of biz magazines for detailed dissection, Cognizant has followed suit with more transition news. Kumar Mahadeva has quit as CEO of Cognizant. The mantle goes to LakshmiNarayanan.

I presume Magazine reporters have to do overtime to cover the double transition stories of the fortnight.

The trend is clear. Head honchos of large companies / conglomerates prefer to pass the baton while they are still very much in their prime. They prefer to take the back seat – but not back seat driving I hope. Rattan Tata did it a few years ago and so did Infosys Narayanamurthy. And 5 years ago, when family business was still in vogue, where power shifted hands within the family, Eicher Motors’ Vikram Lal chose an outsider – a professional - to lead the leading tractor company.

Succession Planning apparently is the current flavour of India Inc – as everywhere else. Some East Asian countries do it in politics also when the elders step down to give place for the younger generation. Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew did it years ago and his successor Goh Chok Tong would soon be following the tradition soon and has already announced the successor. Mahathir of Malaysia recently stepped down, having occupied the head honcho post for more than three decades.

But our political leaders buck the trend. Once in power, they stay “fevicoled” to the seat, till people’s mandate or “party’s high Command” pulls them down to the ground.


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