Every rebound after a slowdown is marked with a lot of lateral movements
within sectors. And those movements are often an indicator of the vibrancy of
the sector. The revival after the 2008-09 slowdown, however, is seeing a very
different but definitive trend: a lot of lateral movements among CIOs who are
leaving organizations that they have been with for long time.
It started with the first signs of revival: around September 2009 and with a
bang. Ashish Chauhan, who was with the Reliance Group for close to six and half
years, decided to move out to where he came from: the bourses. Chauhan who was
Reliance Industries CIO before moving to the role as CEO in Mumbai Indians was
in the founding team of NSE. In September last, he moved as the deputy CEO, BSE.
That is also the time when Pradeep Kalra left Yes Bank, where he was working for
more than three and half years to head IT in SKS Microfinance. Vinay Hinge, the
then GM, IT, Raymond who was with the company for close to three years, moved to
Avenues Supermarts as its CIO.
While the festive season in October did see a little pause, by
November/December, it was clear that it was becoming a trend, when a few more
CIOs switched jobs. Among them was GN Nagaraj, who left as CTO of Reliance Money
to take up the job of CIO at Religare Enterprises. Subodh Dubey, the CIO at K
Raheja Group moved as the group CIO at Usha (Shriram) International.
Incidentally, both of them shifted from Mumbai to Delhi. It is too early, though
to say, if it is yet another indication of the business power shift from Mumbai
to Delhi. K Raheja Group, of course, did not have to look out for a replacement.
Arun Gupta, one of the best minds in the fraternity, and the CIO in one of the
group company, Shoppers Stop, was made the Group CIO.
Sukanta Nayak, who was in Usha International moved as the AVP of Shriram
Group company, Mawana Sugars. The others who switched at that time included TP,
Anant who was with Mumbai International Airport for three and half years moved
as the CIO of Arshiya International; and Rajat Sharma, who ended his five and
half years stint with Shree Cement to move to Atul as president, IT. December
also saw another high profile CIO, Venkat Iyer, moving from Pfizer to Star TV.
Iyer was with Pfizer for close to three years. Prince Azariah, the erstwhile CIO
of MRF, who had quit MRF Tyres after more than three years earlier in the year
and had relocated to Mumbai, has joined ACC as the CIO.
The new year saw continuation of the trend even as Yateen Chodnekar, who was
the CIO of Mangal Keshav Group moved to Morgan Stanley to take up an APAC
responsibility. More recently, Dhiren Savla, one of the most articulate CIOs in
the industry, decided to end his six year old stint with Kuoni Travels to take
up the role of director, IT with CRISIL.
At the time of writing, we have information that at least three more CIOs
would move out, but we could not confirm the information. Going by the logic
that lot of lateral movements often point to a vibrancy in a sector, one can
extend the logic to conclude that post-recession, business has woken up the
value of IT more than ever before.