India, a Nation of Programmers? Think Again!

Sundar Pichai, New Google CEO, Among New Breed of Leaders Proving Naysayers Wrong!

IIT Kharagpur, Stanford University and Wharton! With degrees from each of these premier institutions and a brilliant career graph, Sundar Pichai can make even the most successful of people and companies cast their net for him.

sunder-pichaiIt is, therefore, no surprise he was in the reckoning for the Microsoft CEO mantle not too long ago. Mr Bill Gates chose to elevate a Microsoft veteran, Mr Satya Nadella.

All four ended up winners — Google got to keep its star and Microsoft found someone who began to engineer a turnaround.

Narendra Modi to Visit Google: Now with Mr Sundar Pichai named CEO of Google, India has one more feather in its brilliant cap that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP marketing machinery cannot claim credit for.

But who knows Mr Pichai may himself cede it to Mr Modi when the latter visits the Google office in California next month, kicking off another of his travel escapades.

Other Indian CEOs: Mr Nikesh Arora (SoftBank), who was earlier Chief Business Officer at Google, Mr Sanjay Jha (Global Foundries), Mr Francisco D’souza (Cognizant), Mr Shantanu Narayen (Adobe) and Mr Sanjay Mehrotra (SanDisk) are among other Indians heading global technology companies.

satya_nadella_microsoft_ceoThis is in addition to hundreds of other Indians who hold senior leadership positions at many technology powerhouses such as Cisco Systems. A couple of Indians were in the race to succeed Mr John Chambers but the company picked a dark horse, Mr Chuck Robbins, who took charge as its CEO late last month.

I doubt Cisco made the right choice. I will try not to get into a debate on whether merit alone dictates the choice of candidates for plum positions!

Standing Tall: In terms of academic and career credentials, Mr Pichai stands tall indeed. It is a matter of pride for me that he is also from city I grew up in – Chennai. Just like Ms Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsico. She is an alumni of the college I went to as well.

Indra NooyiAnd India has long been considered only as a nation of low-level programmers who are good at executing orders while lacking the vision to come up with pathbreaking solutions. Even I had once thought that Indians have technical depth but no leadership skills!

The likes of Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadella are out to prove all naysayers wrong!

G Joslin Vethakumar

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