Business Today

Challenge seeker

Sunny Sen | Print Edition: May 15, 2011

The newly-appointed CEO of HCL Infosystems wants to focus on fewer things and scale up the business. "More R&D dollars and a lot more of marketing dollars," says Harsh Chitale, who learnt this strategy while at Honeywell.

Chitale wants to make HCL Infosystems a solutions and hardware company. There is egovernance and education, there is Digi-school, which delivers education content to schools, and there is telemedicine. In devices, he is betting on tablets, but knows that real growth will happen when broadband becomes more widespread.

Earlier, Chitale had been the youngest Managing Director of Tata Honeywell at 32. At HCL he is focusing on capacity building: the company recently won a Rs 1,000-crore project to automate transactions in the public distribution system in Madhya Pradesh.

Chitale thinks convergence is the next big wave for the IT industry, and devices will not be independent from services. "In the next five years, convergence will already be there and many will use only one device for everything," he says. HCL Infosystems wants to become the Indian IBM and with a young CEO it just might be able to break free from the legacy. "I don't regret stepping away from the rat race at all," he says, referring to his decision not to enrol in a business school, that too, India's best.

Harsh Chitale
39, CEO, HCL Infosystems
Been there: At 32, became the youngest-ever Managing Director of Tata Honeywell
Done that: Drives HCL's ability to handle large projects
A-ha moment: Secured admission into IIM Ahmedabad twice, but figured on-the-job learning would be better
Loves to sing along: So much that he hosts karaoke parties at home, with a vintage cathode ray tube television set

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