Bosch chairman Albert Hieronimus has been appointed as IT firm MindTree’s new non-executive chairman. He comes in place of founder chairman Ashok Soota who quit the post in January citing personal reasons. Hieronimus has been an independent director at MindTree since 2006.
Significantly, the German national becomes the first non-Indian to be the chairman of an Indian publicly listed IT company. Analysts saw this move as a reflection of the growing maturity of the Indian IT industry and its ambition to become truly global. On Friday, MindTree shares gained by 2.93% on the BSE to close at R404.50.
Hieronimus has 35 years of management experience. He worked in India as Bosch managing director between 2003 and 2008 (he has been the chairman of the executive board at Bosch Rexroth since February 2008). At MindTree, he served as an independent director and is member of the firm's strategic initiatives committee, audit committee and chairman of the firm's investor grievances committee.
Executives said the firm is indeed changing. While it has de-linked the role of the chairman of the board from that of the company’s CEO to boost governance, it has also rolled out a restructuring plan that would make the firm leaner, simpler and stronger in areas where it can potentially scale up. Ashok Soota was chairman and CEO when MindTree was founded 11 years ago. In 2007, he became the executive chairman while Krishnakumar Natarajan was appointed CEO and MD. Now, for the first time, the firm has picked a non-executive chairman who would mentor and lead MindTree.
“My fist priority is to bring the company back on track for the next 10 years. The development of the last two months have caused some irritation to shareholders and employees,” the new chairman said on the sidelines of a press meet. “Secondly, we will revise our strategy. This new strategy will lead MindTree to being a $1 billion company in the next few years,” he added.