CP Gurnani’s tickets for the Fifa World Cup in June are all booked. But for the 55-year-old managing director of Tech Mahindra, this is more than an opportunity to watch some first-class soccer and spend quality time with his children, who are also flying down to Brazil from the US for the event. As technology provider for one of the biggest sporting events in the world, Tech Mahindra’s head will be in Rio to ensure everything goes off without a glitch. Four years ago, Gurnani was at Johannesburg, South Africa, as well, when the company provided IT support to Fifa for the first time. That was a success, encouraging Gurnani to be optimistic about Tech Mahindra’s performance this time as well.
That confidence was understandably in short supply barely five years ago, when Tech Mahindra took over the scandal-ridden Satyam Computer Services. While the knight in shining armour was able to convince the Fifa committee of its intentions and thus retained the IT account for two World Cups, others weren’t as willing to give the company a chance. But Tech Mahindra not only revived the fortunes of Satyam Computer but also effectively leveraged the synergies between both organisations to emerge as a formidable alternative to tier 1 players. The proof is in the numbers: in the past five years, revenue and profits have grown 33% and 24%, respectively. And in the past two years alone, the $3-billion Tech Mahindra has made a string of acquisitions that have helped augment its service offerings, besides adding to its revenue momentum. With an ambitious target of $5 billion in revenue by 2015 looming large, the company is pulling out all stops to strengthen its presence across geographies, beefing its leadership and sales team. “We are aware that $5 billion is a stretch but we have about seven more quarters to get there. Organic growth will get us to about $4 billion and the balance will come from acquisitions,” says Gurnani. How did Tech Mahindra execute this turnaround?
The story begins in January 2009, when Satyam Computer Services’ founder admitted to cooking the books at what was then one of India’s biggest IT success stories. Ramalingam Raju confessed that over $1 billion of cash and bank loans stated as assets didn’t exist, revenue had been overstated more than 20% and operating margins were