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A day of mixed feelings: Gopinathan, on resigning from TCS

But since his resignation he has been feeling all light and happy, and has no clue what he’s going to do next. The big task before him now is to write his CV, since he hasn’t prepared one since his time at IIM A.

March 17, 2023 / 01:01 PM IST

“It’s a day of mixed feelings for me,” an emotional and reflective Rajesh Gopinathan said as he stepped down from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) after 22 years of service.  On the evening of March 16, TCS announced that Rajesh Gopinathan has resigned. K Krithivasan is the CEO designate as of March 16, and Gopinathan will stay on till September to help with the transition.

Post the transition, Gopinathan said he is looking forward to enjoying some downtime, spending time with family, and sitting back and thinking about what he wants to do next. Gopinathan had joined the group in 1996.

“It would not have been apt to do that when I am doing something as important as this,” he said. He added that the Tata group is where he has seen and learnt everything he knows, and that he enjoyed the mentorship of Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekharan.

A usually reticent Gopinathan opened up during the press conference post the announcement of his exit. He said that the last time he wrote his resume was when he was doing his MBA, and quipped that fielding questions from the press quarter after quarter for the last decade has been among the hardest things he has done.

“I can’t tell you how happy and light I feel. Till a week back it was all-consuming. The last 48 hours it has been very liberating. I have no clue what I’m going to do (going ahead),” he said.

Asked if he was going to take on an advisory role after he leaves the company, Gopinathan said, “Long before I owned a car, when walking on the road my attitude towards car owners was 'car khareeda, road thodi na khareedi hai,’ (you’ve bought a car,  not the road), and I used to walk however I wanted. When you start driving a car, you have a different perspective of pedestrians. Similarly, when it comes to advisors, when I was in an operational role, I used to hate advisors of all forms completely. It’ll be interesting now, since I might be the one great advisor the world is waiting for,” he said.

Timing of exit

Asked about the timing behind the move, Gopinathan told the press that there was "no better time than now to quit," and added:  "It was important to do this before the start of the financial year so that the new CEO has the full runway."

He added that volatility has been managed and the company has grown at a steady clip of 14.8 percent and crossed big milestones.

However, he explained that volatility is par for the course and there will be ups and downs. “We have come together in times of crisis and stood together as a team, and will do so again,’’ he added.

Gopinathan said that he has been discussing his departure with Chandra on and off. “One day you get up and say you thought it through, and that happened just a week or so back,” he said.

“I had never allowed myself to think about something else while I’m sitting here. I don’t think that would be appropriate. I spent every waking minute thinking about TCS and that’s the way it has been. But when you start wondering if you should continue, it’s best to say that it is time and hand it over,” he added.

On TCS’ growth in FY24, Gopinathan said he has absolutely no clue and it is not his business to comment on it.

Gopinathan said that he wants to make sure that the transition happens smoothly, and that he has no plans to skimp on that, adding that he will be available to Krithivasan 100 percent.

Krithivasan is currently the global head of the company’s BFSI (Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance) business group, the company’s largest vertical accounting for 35-40 percent of its revenue.

Speaking to the press, Krithivasan said there will be no change in strategy at the moment, and that TCS, as a company, has a core set of beliefs that will continue. “Focussing on our employees, focussing on our customers is the most important engine that drives our growth,’’ he added.

Haripriya Suresh
first published: Mar 17, 2023 09:40 am