Will work to re-energise growth, says new Mindtree CEO Debashis Chatterjee

Topics MindTree | L&T  | IT sector

Debashis Chatterjee (left) was a former Cognizant executive; L&T CEO and MD, S N Subrahmanyan, has been appointed Mindtree’s non-executive vice-chairman
Mindtree’s newly appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Debashis Chatterjee, on Friday said his immediate priority would be to bring back the growth momentum by working with the current management. 

Chatterjee said he would devise a 100-day plan to re-energise growth, which has taken a hit following L&T’s takeover of the mid-tier IT services firm. In the June quarter, the Bengaluru-headquartered firm had shown one of the weakest performances in recent years with a 41 per cent dip in profit year on year. Its operating margin fell 520 basis points. 

“When a new person comes in, there is a 90-day or 100-day plan, so I have to start focusing on that. My first priority is to understand the management  and strengthen growth goals,” said Chatterjee in his first press interaction accompanied by L&T CEO, S N Subrahmanyan.

Earlier in the day, Mindtree announced Chatterjee its CEO & MD with immediate effect. Chatterjee is the first outside CEO for Mindtree, which has been till recently helmed by its co-founders as its chief executive officers. Besides, Subrahmanyan has been appointed the non-executive vice-chairman of the firm. 

Chatterjee joins Mindtree from Cognizant, where he was leading the digital systems and technology practice for Teaneck, New Jersey-headquartered firm. His past experience in handling digital services deals apart from dealing with banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) clients may come in handy in improving Mindtree performance.

With a strong deal pipeline, Mindtree would put in efforts to improve its margin profile in coming quarters, Chatterjee said. “We have a very strong TCV (total contract value) and with such TCV, strong growth momentum is likely. Also, growth without talking about margin doesn't make any sense. There will be opportunities for improving margin and that's what we should do as we go along,” Chatterjee said.

After the exit of Mindtree founders, L&T has reached out to clients and employees for a smooth transition.

“Our Chairman A M Naik has written to all the clients, assured the continuity of relationship and reassured them about taking existing relationship forward providing overall support of L&T. We have also written to all the staff about protecting the company’s culture,” said Subrahmanyan. 

L&T has met all senior leadership team at Mindtree such as delivery heads, client-facing heads and have reassured them about their commitment for supporting growth.  On the rising attrition in Q1 at Mindtree, Subrahmanyan said it was generally higher for the industry and the employees are positive about L&T becoming the promoter of the IT firm.

“I am going to the US next week to meet some key clients, and AM Naik is going to Europe to meet some clients. Once the new CEO settles down, he will also keep rolling,” Subrahmanyan said.

During the transition period of takeover, L&T reached out to key clients of Mindtree, including Microsoft.

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