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L&T has allowed us to run Mindtree independently… there has been stability and continuity: Debashis Chatterjee

Mindtree is perhaps the first domestic IT services company that went through a hostile takeover recently by L&T forcing the entire founder-led leadership team to quit the company, 20 years after it was set up. In an interview with BusinessLine, the company’s new MD & CEO Debashis Chatterjee shares how the transition has panned out since he took over three months ago and what the future holds for Mindtree.

What were the challenges that the company faced after it was taken over by L&T?

My job was to stabilise the organisation and in the process, I must admit we lost some top leaders to other companies. But if you look at the leadership minus two-level, we haven’t lost any. They have been key to the overall transition. Our parent, L&T has allowed us to run Mindtree independently without any interference and left it to me to drive growth and take it to the next level. There are areas which need to be fixed but there has been stability and continuity. Our recent quarter results show that we have not been offtrack.

90 days later what do you feel are the areas that need to be focused upon? Has there been any feedback from the clients so far?

I have more or less met all the strategic clients. We want to grow that relationship further. We have formed a strategic deals team. The team is engaging with the rest of the organisation. It will help me in shaping some large deals going forward. I have most of the clients and they have said good things about Mindtree. It has strengthened my belief that the quality of delivery from Mindtree has been excellent and there is a good ongoing relationship between the two. There is not a single client who has been dissatisfied with Mindtree. I must mention here about the two awards we have won which strengthenmy belief that we are on the right path. Mindtree has been appraised at CMMI V2.0 Level5 for Capabilities in Product Development and Services. Level 5 in the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) V2.0 represents a proven commitment to high-quality software development processes and delivery standards. We are one of the first global IT organisations to have secured this accreditation. We are also the winner of the 2019 ISG Star of Excellence Award, the industry’s first and only recognition program that ranks providers on the quality of their services based on direct feedback from enterprise clients. There were about 400 companies, including tier-one IT services companies, and we won this award. This is a huge distinction for us.

Are you looking at making any structural changes in the company as one assumes that new management usually wants to introduce its way of carrying out the operations.

Being a billion-dollar, we must acknowledge and recognise the strengths the company already has. My priority is to accelerate growth. We have been a digital-first company. We want to be the leader in the tech space and help our clients in their digital transformation journey. We also have a future-ready talent pool to propel growth. The transformation that is happening across all segments is all digital and that is a capability that will continue to strengthen further. We hope to see some good results as our engagement with our clients get deeper. I am also building strong leadership under me.

If one looks at some of the other companies in the same space, issues about cultural fit is assuming a lot of significance especially when an outsider takes over as a CEO or even new management as it is in the case of Mindtree. Have you come across such issues at Mindtree?

It is true that when a new management takes over, there are bound to be some issues about changes in the culture of the organisation. Here, I must tell you that whatever Mindtree has done so far, will continue and it will be strengthened further. I have done several town hall meetings with the employees and I can say with good confidence that all of them are backing us. I don’t think there have been any specific transition challenges we have faced so far.

During the last few weeks, we have seen IT services companies letting go of several employees. In the case of Mindtree, several top executives have quit. Is there a major shake-up happening?

Some leaders have left the company and at the same time, there will be quite a few from outside who will be joining us soon. We will nurture those with good leadership talent to the next level. We have a good bank of people, especially in the leadership minus two-level who will be mentored and given the opportunity to take up bigger roles. Our attrition levels are lower than the industry’s average. We have carried out multiple engagements with our employees and we believe that they have yielded positive results.

Going forward, will there be any synergies/partnerships between Mindtree and L&T Infotech?

It is too early to say what will happen but what I can certainly say is that Mindtree will operate as an independent entity. If there are any potential opportunities for creating synergies between the two organisations, we will definitely look at that.

Source: The Hindu