Business

A look back at the career of Natarajan Chandrasekaran

12 Jan 2017 | By Shiladitya Ray

Following the ouster of Cyrus Mistry as the chairman of Tata Sons on 24th October 2016, Natarajan Chandrasekaran was appointed as the chairman of the $103 billion Tata group today, bringing an end to an 80 day-long saga.

As Chandrasekaran gets set to take the helm at Tata Sons, we take a look at his remarkable career.

In context: The story of Natarajan Chandrasekaran

12 Jan 2017A look back at the career of Natarajan Chandrasekaran

Early lifeThe man who never applied for a job

Born to a farming family in 1963 in Tamil Nadu, Natarajan Chandrasekaran, popularly called Chandra, never had to apply for a job.

After obtaining a Bachelor's in Applied Sciences from the Coimbatore Institute of Technology, Chandra completed his Master's in Computer Applications in 1986.

While doing his college project work for Tata Consultancy Services, Chandra was offered a job.

He joined TCS in 1987.

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Chandrasekaran's respect for the Tata Group

In a 2014 interview with Business Today, Chandrasekaran had said, "The [Tata Sons] group is professionally managed, so I get to run the show [for TCS]. For me, it is the enormous freedom to operate. Then there is the strong value system of the group."
Chandrasekaran climbs the ladder of success

Chandra's riseChandrasekaran climbs the ladder of success

Chandrasekaran initially worked on billing softwares and mainframes for TCS, but was quick to make his mark.

He soon became one of the point persons on TCS' General Electric and US federal government contracts.

Chadra's skill in managing large deals was recognized, and in 1996, he became part of TCS' core leadership team and the executive assistant to the then TCS CEO S. Ramadorai.

Years as TCS CEOChandra takes the helm at TCS

In 2009, when Ramadorai stepped down, Chandrasekaran took over as the CEO and Managing Director of Tata Consultancy Services.

Under his leadership, TCS survived the tough times following the 2008 financial crisis, and emerged as India's largest and most profitable IT company.

TCS became the first Indian IT company to cross the $10 billion-per-year revenue mark, and is still growing at a remarkable rate.

Chandarsekaran's stint as NASSCOM chairman

In the period 2012-2013, Chandrasekaran served as the chairman of NASSCOM, the apex trade body for IT services companies in India. He continues to be part of NASSCOM's governing Executive Council.
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Awards and HonoursChandra's remarkable collection of awards and honours

CNN-IBN named Chandrasekaran as the Indian of the Year 2014 in the business category.

In 2015, Chandra was voted as 'Best CEO' by the Institutional Investor's Annual All-Asia Executive Team, for the fifth consecutive year.

In 2016, he was appointed as a non-official director to the RBI board.

Apart from several other awards, he also holds honorary degrees from JNTU, SRM, KIIT, among others.

08 Feb 2017Chandrasekaran elected Chairman of Tata Steel

Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran has been elected as the chairman of the board of Tata Steel. Chandrasekaran said "I feel greatly honoured to be chosen as the Chairman and I accept this responsibility with a deep sense of humility."

The Board appointed Peter Blauwhoff as Additional (Independent) Director.

Chandrasekaran said Blauwhoff's "induction will enrich the quality of debate and deliberation" in the board.

21 Feb 2017N Chandrasekaran new Tata Sons chief from Feb 21

N. Chandrasekaran will assume charge as Tata Sons chairman on February 21. A day earlier, he was named TCS chairman, after serving as its CEO since 2009.

Rajesh Gopinathan, former CFO, will now serve as CEO and MD of TCS. Meanwhile, V. Ramakrishnan will replace Gopinathan as CFO.

A messy public fallout followed former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry's ouster in October 2016.

Chandrasekaran's promises for Tata

Natrajan Chandrasekaran made a statement after assuming charge as Tata Sons chairman, promising to have disciplined capital allocation; disciplined shareholder returns; to teach group companies to lead, not follow; to work together to deliver industry-leading business performance; and to bring the group together.