The most recent townhall saw Dr Anish Shah, Managing Director and CEO of the Mahindra Group, in a freewheeling discussion with CP Gurnani, MD and CEO of Tech Mahindra.
Gurnani led Tech Mahindra’s transformation journey, including the acquisition and merger of Satyam and today, Tech Mahindra has emerged as one of the leading digital IT solution providers in the country.
During his chat with Dr Shah, Gurnani shared why the last 20 years with Mahindra have been the best part of his life. Read the highlights of their discussion and get a round-up of the Group’s business updates that Dr Shah provided.
When Gurnani met Anand Mahindra for the first time at a restaurant, he had never before seen an executive drive his own car and pay his own bill. That’s when he realised that the company culture is one where everyone is equal and respected — a culture that hasn’t changed in 75 years! He says, “You can create an execution team, you can create a strategy but to create a culture and values — it takes a huge collective effort.”
Gurnani interacts with the board only once a quarter, however there’s a sense of trust. He tells himself, “I’m the custodian of the legacy of my Founders. I have the responsibility to make things better every day.” A learning of his life is that extraordinary people are those that can be engaged and empowered, in order to bring out their true nature.
During the Satyam acquisition, Gurnani’s rallying cry was, “My name is CP and it stands for Customers and People.” His belief in people is what kept him going even through the high-risk acquisition. A belief that is reflected by Anand Mahindra who said to him, “If you are convinced that you can bring the Mahindra Values across the entire company and that this is a risk worth taking — go ahead.”
When the Group went through a few bad years, Gurnani was part of the team that analysed what went wrong and created a blueprint based on data. “There’s no point in trying to figure your journey or end destination without having data. It’s like driving a car without a speedometer or a dashboard or your own milestones to know whether you’re doing well or not,” he declares.
When asked what guidance he would give budding leaders, Gurnani reveals the magic answer lies in the ‘Rise’ tenets — for your customers, family, community and country.
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