Saturday, April 1, 2023

TCS: When you start thinking about your future, it’s time to go: TCS’s Gopinathan – Usky News

Bengaluru: TCSOutgoing CEO and MD Rajesh Gopinathan spoke to TOI on everything that led up to his decision to step down.
Your decision to step down was very surprising. What happened?
When I am sitting on this chair, I should not think about future plans of Rajesh, I should think about future plans of TCS. (Until recently) 100%, every minute of my waking hour, I thought about TCS. But the day you start thinking that you need to think about your future plans, that day you need to vacate the chair and hand it over to someone else.
So what made you start thinking about your future plans?
There was no specific trigger. It’s been a great journey and to some extent, the point of reflection was last quarter, when you could say (I completed) 10 years, 40 quarters (four years as CFO and six years as CEO), Which really got me thinking (about myself and my future).
We were also making our financial plan for the next financial year. So, the start of a new year. This other thing running through my mind was – let someone else own the whole thing for a whole year. So, a lot of little things came together, and we said, okay, this is what I’m talking about chandra (TCS Chairman N Chandrasekaran) For some time.
But the announcement came too suddenly.
It was not something that was very much planned for yesterday (Thursday). The decision that had to be taken to do this was less than two days.
How long have you been talking to Chandra about this?
Right now I haven’t given him much time for this, but I told him even when it was the 40th quarter. We kept thinking that we will sit and talk about it, but he is running 10 TCS and you always keep avoiding it. But there was no point in delaying it too much. Then there won’t be enough time to do anything. You can do it whenever it’s worthwhile.
So, what are you planning to do next?
I don’t have any plans yet, and I don’t think it would be right for me to go to work and try to develop those plans. Peter Drucker has this famous piece called Managing Oneself, where he said – and he said this decades ago – that we should be ready to be intellectually active in our 70s. And if you want to do this, then you should think about another career after the age of 50, because only then you will be fresh and you will be able to do it. Otherwise you will reach the end of your energy. So it was running through my mind that I have turned 50 (Gopinathan will turn 52 in August).
Kritivasan As a successor, was he ever in the news?
We have a well defined leadership group. And the board has a lot of visibility — the capabilities, the background. They often interact with people. Chandra knows everyone personally and professionally. Ours is a very high touch environment. So the decision making process was fast. And he (Kritivasan) was leading one-third and most important vertical of the business, so the visibility has been very high.
TCS held a blitz leadership event in Doha in February where there was leadership discussion on how to get back to the leadership position TCS had missed out on some good deals. Sources say that this too may have motivated your decision to step down.
Blitz is an annual planning event. The idea is to make the sales team perform better. The fact that we’re underperforming (on revenue) someone who’s twice our size (Accenture), and someone who’s half our size (Infosys), is a pretty open conversation for us. But TCS has always believed in profitable growth, and has always said that we will not prioritize one over the other. Even at the board level, revenue growth, profitability and return on equity, all three taken together should be the focus.
We discussed the issue. It’s a high-energy event, people go up and defend their performances, they get challenged, and then everyone gets together and says, okay, we’ll go out and do it. And then we all have a party.


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