Leadership styles of top Indian IT CEOs

by CXOtoday News Desk    Aug 27, 2013


The recent news of NR Narayan Murthy overturning CEO Shibulal’s move to decentralise decision-making, and centralise all decision making may come as a rude shock to many. For someone who comes across as being mild-mannered and soft-spoken, it is hard for us to imagine that he can actually negate decisions taken by the CEO of his company. So what is actually, Murthy’s Leadership Style? We take a look the leadership style of top Indian IT CEOs and see where they stand.

NR Narayan Murthy, Infosys

While Infosys has witnessed a string of co-founders turning CEOs, NR Narayan Murthy continues to be the most prominent of the lot. After, reporting losses quarter-on-quarter, it was Murthy who had to come out of retirement to do some serious damage control. According to MENSXP, Murthy often cites the example of Winston Churchill, whose gutsy leadership successfully led Britain away from the brink of defeat during World War II. Murthy says that during a time of crisis a strong leadership is needed more than ever. And this maybe is exactly what he is up to right now at Infosys.


S.Ramadorai or Ram has been instrumental in making TCS to be one of the world’s largest global software and services companies. He began his stint at TCS as trainee engineer and rose to be at the helm of the company for 13 years. This enabled him to understand the nuts and bolts of the business and the industry, which he leveraged to the fullest. In spite of at times following decisions from the Tata management, he ensured that growth of TCS was in no way affected.

N Chandrasekaran, TCS

Taking the reins form Ram, N Chandrasekaran or Chandra was responsible for formulating TCS’s global strategy across 44 countries in which it operates. Through his experience in a variety of operating roles, he managed to show some exceptional ability to build and grow new business offerings. For instance, it was under him that the company added new business lines and entered new industry verticals.

Additionally, under his guidance the company refined its corporate sustainability program to focus on education, environment and wellness. For instance, TCS created healthcare solutions for charitable hospitals to help them improve the level of patient-care more effectively and use their resources to treat more patients who cannot afford healthcare. So in short, Chandra’s leadership style enabled TCS to be a truly global company with presence across industries. This move also ensured that the the company’s offerings also made a social impact.

Azim Premji, Wipro

Having life as hydrogenated vegetable fat manufacturer to being a global IT company, Wipro has come a long way. And all this credit goes to Azim Premji, strongly believes that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things when organized into highly charged teams. As a result, he gets personally involved in developing leaders and teams and invests significant time as faculty in the company’s leadership development programs. 

He also believes that business organizations should have a deep social responsibility which should be highlighted in active involvement in fundamental societal issues. As a result, in the year 2001, the Azim Premji Foundation was established. This not-for-profit organization aims to significantly contribute to improving quality and equity in school education in India, to build a better society. 

Francisco D’Souza, Cognizant

Being one of the youngest CEOs, Francisco has managed to steer Cognizant to be in the same league as Infosys, Wipro and TCS. Under his guidance the company’s revenues grew from US$1.4 billion to over US$7 billion, while the employee base has grown from 55,000 to over 150,000. It is no wonder that many first-generation entrepreneurs see him as an ideal role model. He has shown that to grow a company experience is not the whole and sole criteria, the appetite to take risks can be equally functional.