April 19, 2019

Possessive Founders

The recent instances of Founders cagey about letting go of organisations that they help found has stirred up a buzz in the Indian corporate world and political space.

The much tom-tommed smooth transition that saw Ratan Tata stepping down and Cyrus Mistry taking over, later turned out to be anything but smooth. Ratan fought tooth and nail to claw back. The ensuing bitter boardroom battle, the war of words and the slick manouvers to wrest back control left the corporate world wondering in disbelief – ‘can something like this happen at TATA’s ‘?

A mini coup d’état in Uttra Pradesh saw a Son overthrow his Father in a Political Game of Thrones. Akhilesh deftly outwitted his Father Mulayam Singh Yadav and his Uncle Shivpal took complete control of Samajwadi Party. He hastily stitched up an alliance with Congress and was haughtily confident that he was all set to cycle back to power in UP but the Modi game-plan did not just flummox Akhilesh and other political parties, it bulldozed them into oblivion.

Mulayam’s reluctance to relinquish power in favour of his Son created disquiet in the Samajwadi ranks, the disenchantment and confusion within the powerful Yadav community handed UP to MODI on a platter.

“Sikka means Money”, Narayana Murthy’s reassuring words about Vishal Sikka when he introduced the newly appointed CEO to Infosys Board and the Infy Family, did not literally translate into money bags, at least not to the expectations of the Founders. The bonhomie may not have been as short lived as it was at TATA’s , but the simmer was quite evident since long and things came to a boil off-late.

The disgruntled Founders forced themselves out of retirement and started voicing their concerns about Sikka’s style of functioning. 

Some claim that the inverse proportionality of rising corporate pay-cheques at a time of dipping fortunes of the company put paid to Sikka’s tenure. Some accuse Narayan Murthy of harbouring ambitions for his Son.

Whatever the reason, Sikka bid goodbye, “I now need to return to an environment of respect, trust and empowerment “, he said, the acrimony was un-missable.

While we ape everything Western, we Indians have a altogether different attitude towards our possessions in comparison to the West. We are severely possessive .

Western boardrooms are not without their share of altercations but seldom do we see Founders trying to hold sway over a corporation that has a hierarchical management in place. Whereas Indian Founders find it difficult to let-go.

‘It so seems that the Founders would prefer to take what they Founded to their graves rather than allow others to takeover what they Founded’.

Confounding isn’t it ?

Picture Credit: Twitter 


About Narsimhan OSL 103 Articles
Consultant for Auto-LPG based in Hyderabad. He has interest in current affairs, likes to read a lot and write a bit.
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