Friday, February 6, 2009

The Three Wise Men of Satyam

past, future, present, Satyam
The three wise men AKA Government-appointed Board of Directors for Satyam, have painstakingly interviewed around 50 candidates and after much delay finally landed up with a new CEO of Satyam Computers, Mr. A. S. Murthy (ASM). I do not wish to go into ASM's capability or discuss at length the implication of having a CEO who dumped his shares just before the Maytas episode.

Instead let us investigate something more terrible.

What is greatest threat that Satyam faces today? It is not paucity of funds; they are not exactly bankrupt, are they? The employees are more or less still with Satyam - by choice or otherwise. The threat is from the customers. Some of them have cut off relationship with Satyam; while others are on a watch mode. So the prudent decision would have been to take on board someone who could instill confidence in the customer. Someone who could signal a fresh start - a clean break from the past.

ASM is not a clean break from the past. He is a Raju man. He may have worked with Satyam for the last 15 years and he may know all the customers; but that does not qualify him to become a CEO.

Satyam may survive. It may prosper once again. But only if the customers do not desert Satyam. A dynamic, known outsider would have been a much better choice. ASM may be capable, but he is not the man of the hour. If Satyam regains its lost glory, it would be in spite of and not because of ASM.

A thought pops up: Is this a political appointment designed to control damage?
I hope it is.
The alternative is even more distressing. If this is not a political appointment, then it shows a deeper problem that perhaps pervades the whole of corporate India.

Companies exist only for customer (Yeah! Yeah! I am aware of a certain CEO who thinks employees come before customer. He is wrong - I will explain this some other day, why he is wrong. The same CEO also goes around using "Blue Ocean" for every strategic(??) move. The only Blue Ocean created by an Indian, that I know of, is by Sabir Bhatia, creator of Hotmail.) Each and every action taken by the company should be focused only at the customer. This is something that no one needs to learn from a humble blogger. By not thinking about the customer while choosing the new Satyam CEO, the three wise-men have clearly signaled that corporate India thinks otherwise.

It is impossible to judge now the impact of this appointment. The implications lie in the future and is not visible to us. The best I can hope that it turns out inconsequential. At stake is the future of 40,000+ Satyam employees.

Picture courtesy: enimal

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Aditi said...

Haha.. I like how you introduced - three wise men! Found your link thru blogadda, I have a few friends in satyam and am concerned. I hope everything can be brought to order soon. All this sound so shocking and actually cannt understand much.Nice post!

Aditya said...

My thoughts exactly. I was wondering why they would get someone who was in the company for so long (and did not notice all the fraudulent activity) when they could have brought fresh eyes in. What did the shareholders say about this?

Hey congratulations, I saw you on the indiblogger homepage as a most active member. Kudos!

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