Natarajan Chandrasekaran, a prominent figure in the Indian business world, has left an indelible mark on the corporate landscape through his leadership and contributions.
Born on June 2, 1963, in Mohanur near Namakkal in Tamil Nadu, India, Chandrasekaran's remarkable journey has led him to become the Chairman of Tata Sons, a position of immense significance within the Tata Group.
Chandrasekaran's educational journey began in a Tamil Government school in Mohanur. His passion for knowledge and determination paved the way for his success.
He earned a bachelor's degree in applied sciences from the Coimbatore Institute of Technology in Tamil Nadu.
His thirst for knowledge led him to pursue a Master of Computer Applications (MCA) from the Regional Engineering College, Tiruchirappalli, which is now known as the National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli.
In 1987, Chandrasekaran embarked on his professional journey by joining Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a company that would later become synonymous with his name.
His dedication, vision, and leadership qualities quickly became evident as he climbed the corporate ladder.
After several years of hard work and contributions to the company, he assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Executive Director of TCS.
His tenure as COO and Executive Director set the stage for the transformative leadership that would follow. On October 6, 2009, Chandrasekaran took on the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of TCS, a testament to his exceptional leadership capabilities.
Under his guidance, TCS achieved remarkable milestones. The company generated consolidated revenues of a staggering US$16.5 billion in the fiscal year 2015–16.
With a workforce of over 556,000 consultants, TCS became the largest private sector employer in India. The company's market capitalisation soared to over US$70 billion, cementing its position as the most valuable company in India.
TCS also garnered global recognition, being rated as the world's most powerful brand in IT services. It was further honoured as a Global Top Employer by the Top Employers Institute across 24 countries.
Chandrasekaran's leadership extended beyond TCS as he assumed pivotal roles in various organisations within the Tata Group. He served as the Chairman of Tata Motors and Tata Global Beverages (TGB).
Notably, he became the first non-Parsi and professional executive to head the Tata Group, a testament to his capabilities and vision.
Chandrasekaran's leadership extends to the global stage as well. He assumed the chair of B20 India, where he led the business agenda during India's G20 presidency. This role highlights his influence and involvement in shaping global economic policies.
Chandrasekaran's leadership journey has not been without challenges. The Tata Sons board's decision to remove Cyrus Mistry from the chairmanship of Tata Sons in October 2016 marked a significant turning point.
Chandrasekaran's appointment as an additional director on the Tata Sons board in October 2016 showcased his prominence within the Tata Group.
However, legal battles ensued, including the NCLAT verdicts in 2018 and 2019. These verdicts and legal disputes demonstrated the complexities of corporate governance and leadership transitions within large conglomerates like Tata Sons.
Chandrasekaran's contributions to the business world have earned him numerous awards and recognitions.
He has been recognised as the 'Best CEO' for multiple years and has received honorary doctorates from various universities, including Aligarh Muslim University.
In March 2022, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India for excellence in Trade and Industry.
Chandrasekaran resides in Mumbai with his wife Lalitha. Beyond his professional accomplishments, he is an avid photographer, a music enthusiast, and a passionate long-distance runner.
His marathon achievements include completing races in Amsterdam, Boston, Chicago, Berlin, Mumbai, New York, and Tokyo.
Notably, he achieved his fastest marathon or personal record (PR) at the TCS New York City Marathon in 2014, with a finishing time of 5 hours, 52 minutes, and 52 seconds.
Natarajan Chandrasekaran's journey from a Tamil Government school in Mohanur to the Chairman of Tata Sons is a testament to his unwavering dedication, vision, and leadership.
His contributions to TCS and the Tata Group have left an indelible mark on the corporate world, and his influence continues to shape the business landscape in India and beyond.
As he leads B20 India and champions various causes, one can only anticipate further milestones and contributions from this visionary leader.
Chandrasekaran's journey is a story of determination, resilience, and excellence, inspiring future generations of leaders and entrepreneurs in India and around the world.