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Chandrasekaran thanks Cyrus Mistry on TCS shareholder nudge; denies layoffs

Chandrasekaran, who climbed to the top at TCS before becoming Tata Sons chairman earlier in 2017

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

N Chandrasekaran, chairman, Tata Sons at the TCS AGM in Mumbai. (Photo: Kamlesh Pednekar)
N Chandrasekaran, chairman, Tata Sons at the TCS AGM in Mumbai. (Photo: Kamlesh Pednekar)

today chaired his maiden as the head of Tata Group at shareholders meet, has thanked the dismissed predecessor Cyrus Mistry on nudge, and denied any at the largest software exporter. He was tested by many a peeved shareholder on the Rs 16,000-crore share buyback by in which the parent made most of the benefits. Chandrasekaran, who climbed to the top at before becoming chairman earlier this year, also denied any impact of protectionist policies in the West saying "on the ground nothing has changed for We continue to operate successfully; we continue to recruit people in every market we operate in." As is the convention, he thanked retired Vijay Kelkar and retiring Ishaat Hussain for their services as directors of the company. However, there was no mention of Mistry but when asked by shareholder Adil Irani, he deftly diffused the situation saying, "I thank him". Another shareholder used the IT industry's favourite word "disruption" to illustrate the happenings at TCS, saying FY17 was a year of disruptions due to the global turmoil and also internally for the group with Mistry's dismissal. The share buyback that saw netting over Rs 10,000 crore seemed to have peeved many shareholders, with a shareholder saying, "giveth and taketh away". But Chandrasekaran defended the same saying it was fully legal and said small shareholders have only 15 per cent reservation which got filled on a pro-rata basis. With the facing difficulties due to protectionism in their largest markets like the and automation resulting in job losses dominating the headlines, Chandrasekaran had to placate shareholders' concerns by asserting that there were no at "has not done any We are a growing company and we have grown from 3.5 lakh to 3.87 lakh in employee count.

This year, we have made around 20,000 offers and we expect this growth to continue," he said. founding chief F C Kohli was present at the thinly filled Birla Matoshree Convention Hall in downtown Mumbai, while the group patriarch Ratan Tata was conspicuously absent. A large majority of shareholders, where have 75 per cent holding and which is the largest profit centre for the diversified group, welcomed Chandra's elevation and on display was the most effusive colour in doing so. The loyalty of Chandrasekaran, who has not worked any where else but with the Tatas in a over three-decade career, made one shareholder compare him to the character of Another used the Bahubali-Katappa analogy to appreciate the contributions of Ishaat Hussain and Ratan Tata, respectively, for the salt-to-software group. Chandrasekaran did all the answering by himself through the four-hour meeting, helped by his successor Rajesh Gopinathan and other top executives. He said is still bullish on about growth despite the global turmoils saying the company has come out stronger through the various cycles over the years, and exuded confidence that it will be a similar story going forward. On the soon-to-be-implemented goods and services tax, Chandrasekaran said the company already works on projects around the biggest indirect tax reform and sees it as an opportunity saying the global business environment is increasingly adapting to the digital way and the world is transforming fast. He said has reduced the number of its subsidiaries to 58 from 62 during the year through mergers, and admitted that 11 of them are loss making at present. With business leaders speaking of data as the new oil, the head of the salt-to-software conglomerate said data excellence will be the most important theme in the future and hold true for all the sectors beyond IT. He said has trained 2 lakh employees with 6 lakh competencies on the emerging digital technologies. Seeking to address the concerns on the future, Chandrasekaran said has seen many disruptive changes over its journey and has continued to stay relevant by being ahead of the curve. He said TCS' digital revenues grew 28 per cent to USD 3 billion in FY17. "The future of technology is very bright and we have immense opportunities. We are working strong and hard to grow and scale new heights," he said. Gopinathan said operational agility, cloud and automation will be his focus area in FY18.

First Published: Fri, June 16 2017. 23:15 IST