January 26, 2020
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Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Tata Consultancy Services

TCS’s growth points to Chandra’s pace and focus on agility. His management style, he said once, is a fusion of a ‘high and soft’ touches.

Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Tata Consultancy Services
Photograph by Soumik Kar
Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Tata Consultancy Services
  • TCS’s revenue in 2016 was Rs 1,08,000 cr


Let the numbers do the talking. In 2009, when Chandra took over as the CEO of Tata Consultancy Services, the country’s biggest software services company reported a revenue of over Rs 40,000 crore. A little over seven years later, in 2016, when he handed over the baton, the takings were over Rs 1,08,000 crore. To rephrase that, TCS’s revenue crossed the trillion rupee milestone last year. There’s some more. Midway through his term, TCS overtook Reliance Industries in market-capitalisation to become India’s most valued company (currently, its marketcap is Rs 4,96,341 crore).

This January, the 53-year-old became cha­­­­irman of the Tata Group, heading a Rs 8,64,624 crore conglomerate nearly 150 years old, with a family of over a hundred companies and no dearth of legendary leaders in their rich histories. The task at hand is a bit of a marathon. It’s also, as Chandra put it, overwhelming. “I don’t think anyone can easily get into this job. This position requires several leadership qualities and I feel I will grow into this role over a period of time.”

To many, TCS’s recent aggressive growth is a pointer to Chandra’s pace and his focus on agility. His management style as CEO was a combination of ‘high and soft’ touches, Chandra once told an interviewer. “I’m very hands-on. I understand the business and I’m connected with customers. At the same time, I let my people do what they do....,” he said. “The only time I get everybody together and go deep-dive is two days a month.”

Chandra is a ‘Tata lifer’, having joined the firm in 1987 after completing his MCA. He’s passionate about running: Chandra has run marathons in several cities globally. And he has never been to a business school.

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