Hexaware’s new chief formulates three-pronged strategy for growth

Adith Charlie Mumbai | Updated on July 28, 2014 Published on July 28, 2014


To deliver innovative customer service, attract the best talent and invest in emerging areas

Almost a year after Baring Private Equity Asia picked up a controlling stake in Hexaware Technologies there has been a change of guard at the IT company.

R Srikrishna, who was with HCL Technologies for about 20 years, has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Hexaware. An alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology (Madras) and Indian Institute of Management (Calcutta), Srikrishna was most recently President of Infrastructure and Life Sciences Businesses at HCL Tech.

The incumbent CEO PR Chandrasekar will retire from his position but will continue to be Vice-Chairman. Srikrishna, popularly known as Keech, will be based at Hexaware’s New Jersey office.

In an interaction with BusinessLine, Srikrishna charts the way forward for the mid-size IT firm. Edited excerpts:

Why did you decide to join Hexaware? Apart from the position and other benefits, what exactly did you look for?

My kids asked me the same question, as to why I was leaving HCL Tech. In response, I asked them to name five Cabinet ministers in the Obama administration, which they couldn’t despite being politically aware. For me, it really highlights the difference between the No. 1 and No. 2 jobs. I was running two divisions at HCL so it was a solid No.2 position. On the other hand, the CEO position gives me the ability to drive a new vision and create significant changes in the long term.

Hexaware represents a fabulous platform, employs great people and has strong relationships with its customer base. The company has differentiated skill-sets and capabilities in each domain.

This combination offers a perfect platform for us to build a great organisation.

So, what changes do you have in mind for Hexaware?

The vision will be built by the leadership team, which includes me. In order to deliver long-term sustainable growth, we have to do three things well — deliver innovative customer service, attract the best talent and make investments ahead of the competition in emerging areas such as digital. If we manage to do these things, we will deliver long term growth. In the next 60 days, we will first come up with a vision and then formulate a plan to achieve it.

You are coming from a company which has its fingers in almost all industry segments. Hexaware, on the other hand, is known to be a niche service provider, focusing on financial services, travel & hospitality and manufacturing. Would you focus on adding more industry segments within the company?

I began working with HCL Tech at a time when the company was very small. Thus, I had the benefit of being part of a journey that has now taken the Group to a revenue of $5.5 billion. I had the opportunity to take decisions on where to expand and when to expand in a fairly aggressive manner. At Hexaware, we will be more aggressive than we have been in the past, in terms of new geographies, new verticals and service lines. Clearly, there will be a step by step approach and we will take a call on this in the next 60 days.

Hexaware ended fiscal 2013 with a revenue base of around $400 million. Since size and scale are important in this industry, will revenue of $1 billion be your next target?

One element of our strategy will be to clock $1 billion in revenue. Going forward, I will consistently talk about the need to come across to customers as a small organisation.

Even if we were to become a large company, customers should feel that they have access to us. I have seen many big organisations lose the plot with customers as they become internally focussed with growth. I am pretty sure that when we do become large, we will not make the same mistake.

Published on July 28, 2014

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