Virender Aggarwal, Chief Executive Officer, Ramco Systems and Dr. Werner Vogels, Chief Technology Officer, Amazon
After taking Satyam and HCL technologies to great heights in the Asia Pacific region, Indian IT industry veteran Virender Aggarwal is on a new mission: to globalise a breakout Indian company, Ramco Systems. Zafar Anjum recently met up with him to learn about his plans and strategy for Ramco System's Cloud on ERP.
A surprising piece of news jolted the Asia Pacific IT industry watchers in April this year. HCL Technologies, one of India's top IT services company, had lost its president and Asia Pacific region head, Virender Aggarwal.
Aggarwal had steered HCL's business quite effectively in the last three years in the region (he had joined HCL Technologies on 1 May 2009). During his time, HCL's growth in the region was spectacular (60 percent year-on-year growth, for instance). It became the fastest growing region for HCL. He started many new initiatives in Singapore including the HCL Mobility Lab and the Lilly HCL Co-innovation Lab. Why then did he leave HCL Technologies? And most importantly, where was he headed now?
For sometime, no one had an answer to this question.
Contrary to his soft-spoken image, Aggarwal had made a similar sensational exit in 2009 from Satyam after the company's chairman B. Ramalinga Raju confessed of falsifying the accounts of the company to the tune of US$1 billion. This must have been a hard decision for him. After all, he was instrumental in consolidating the fragmented AP market for Satyam. He founded the company's regional headquarters in Singapore. And how did he start? He had started off with a staff of three people in Singapore in 2000, and went on to scale up the business into 15 development centres and 33 sales offices across 20 countries with over 4,000 employees.
So, where was this remarkable technology leader going now? Had he been poached by one of the biggies-TCS or Infosys?
The suspense lasted for two weeks.
Curtains from the mystery of Aggarwal's next move were lifted on May 9 this year. Turned out that the fellow had now not made a lateral move to another IT services giant. He had quietly joined a relatively new company (though it is part of a big business group) as its CEO.
The company he joined is enterprise software provider Ramco Systems, the home-grown business software maker which is part of Chennai-based conglomerate Ramco Group. The billion dollar group has interests in textiles and cement, and software was, perhaps, an afterthought.
When I recently met Aggarwal over lunch at a restaurant in Singapore, my first question to him was-and you might have guessed it-why did he chuck HCL Technologies for Ramco Systems? What was so compelling about this little known company?
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