CXOs rejoin Indian Cos to drive business growth

by p b    Jul 07, 2011

July 7, 2011
By Ashwani Mishra

Many senior level executives, who had left their previous organizations, are now returning for a second innings.

After working for 11 years at Infosys Technologies, Basab Pradhan quit the software major in 2005 to launch his own venture Gridstone Research.

At Infosys, he handled global sales and headed several key businesses like retail, consumer packages goods, healthcare and transportation for the then $ 2.5 billion company.

Last month, Pradhan rejoined Infosys, a three times bigger company since he left, as head of global sales. The move came at a time when India’s second largest software exporter is undergoing a transition. Infosys has been growing slower than its peers such as Tata Consultancy Services, HCL Technologies and Cognizant Technologies and its key founders; chief mentor and chairman N R Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani and K Dinesh have retired or opted out for different roles.

“Such moves happen when companies look to expand and realign their business strategies. As a professional, when you have spent adequate time within an organisation, you tend to learn and grow along with culture, processes and systems and by default your productivity is much higher in that environment,” says Balaji E, MD and CEO of Ma Foi Randstad, India and Sri Lanka. “Coming back to the same organisation is a win-win situation for both parties”

Last week, Tushar Sighat rejoined D-Link as CEO for India and SAARC region after he quit the company some years back. Sighat was part of the founding team at D-Link India in 1995 moved for greener pastures in 2007.

“While it is a pleasant and overwhelming emotion to be back with D-Link after a gap of three years, it is also a very crucial step in the professional. At this stage of our careers, we look at challenging roles. With this role, the focus for me will be to take the company to greater heights,” says Sighat.

Senior executives who rejoin their ex-employers not only bring a wealth of experience from outside, but also understand the core ethos of their former employer. The desire to excel is significantly higher due to comfort levels amongst various people within the organisation

“When people make a comeback, the possibility of disappointment and mismatches are lesser and the second innings for most of these people works well,” says Balaji.

In recent months, several senior executives have come back to their home turf. Rajesh Subramaniam rejoined Firstsource Solutions as deputy managing director and chief financial officer after a stint as Walden India’s country head.

In April this year, Jagbir Singh rejoined Airtel as Director, Networks after a brief stint in Reliance Communications (RCOM). Prior to joining RCOM, Singh served as Group CTO, Bharti Airtel, for nine years, where he was responsible for strategic planning of the mobile network, besides playing a leading role in the operator’s 3G and WiMax deployment team.

Last year, Sunil Saxena rejoined market researcher Synovate as its director after a stint with Lattice bridge infotech. Shyam Viswanathan rejoined Grow Talent Co Ltd as its executive director for strategic initiatives, three years after he left the company as an independent consultant. Sundaram V Rajagopal rejoined Starwood Capital Group, a leading global private equity firm as its India and Southeast Asia managing director.

Many organizations are making an extra effort to stay connected, not just with the usual business contacts, but also with employees who have left them. Companies like Pepsi-Co, Marico, Sapient, NIIT, HUL, and Deloitte are organizing alumni meets, so that existing employees keep in touch with former employees as a way to network and know about the developments in the market.

“As the market is picking up steam there will be an increase in such movements across sectors. These executives are coming back as they have niche skills and expertise that they bring to the table. The second factor is that they left the company on a favourable note and have good relations with the management,” says V Suresh, Senior VP and Head Sales, Naukri.com.