‘Disruptive succession is not always a bad thing’

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on December 15, 2018

(Fom left ) Raghavan Srinivasan, Editor, The Hindu BusinessLine; A. Vellayan, Former Executive Chairman, Murugappa Group; R. Seshasayee, Chairman, IndusInd Bank Ltd and Srivats Ram, Past President, MMA at the launch of the book ` Table Talk : Conversation with Leaders' in Chennai   -  Bijoy Ghosh

The Chairman of IndusInd Bank Ltd said that in a business enterprise a non-linear way of change in succession was also an opportunity.

The succession plan in a business enterprise need not be smooth as non-linear pattern of leadership change could work out well in the context of business transformation and technological disruptions, according to R Seshasayee, Chairman, IndusInd Bank Ltd.

“I disagree with the view that the succession should be smooth,” he said, during a conversation with Raghavan Srinivasan, Editor, BusinessLine, on leadership, organised by The Hindu BusinessLine in collaboration with the Madras Management Association at the launch of the Table Talk book on Friday.

‘An opportunity’

Seshasayee said that in a business enterprise a non-linear way of change in succession was also an opportunity.

“In a business context where the environment is constantly changing and technology disruptions are taking place around you, there could be a need for a leadership change in a non-linear and disruptive fashion. Because, it may align well with the new business context and opportunities in that environment,” he added.

Seshsayee agreed that non-linear pattern would not suit in conformist organisations such the military. “One cannot imagine a disruptive kind of army chief bursting into the scene. By definition, there is a role prescribed to military personnel, which is conformist. If you want a solider to fire, he’s got to fire. There you don’t want an intellectual soldier who keeps arguing whether the timing is right or wrong,” he explained.

“There I believe someone who is soaked in army discipline and the ethos of the armed forces coming to a leadership position in a linear fashion and taking it forward is not a bad thing,” he added. He was also of the view that a strong leader should actively promote dissent and develop the ability to listen to people.

A Vellayan, former Executive Chairman, Murugappa Group, pointed out that a leader should have clarity in his vision and also ensure his teams are with the vision of the company.

Replying to a question whether southern businessmen were risk-averse, he said that groups like Murugappa set certain levels of boundaries to play and hence they were seen as risk-averse. “In the case of returning of payment bank licence, we took that decision as we didn’t want to sustain the levels of losses like an existing player to stay in the business,” he added.

The occasion saw the launch of the book titled Table Talk: Conversation with the Leaders, a compilation of interviews and conversations BusinessLine journalists had with businessmen, politicians, academicians and others that had been published in the financial daily.

Published on December 14, 2018

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