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CIO Movements in 2015.

India, Dec. 30 -- After little action on CIO movements front for years, the second half of 2013 witnessed many CIOs shifting their long-held positions to move to newer companies, newer industries. The trend, which spilt over to 2014, shows no sign of slowing down and continued in full stream in 2015 as well.

Apart from some regular movements, some definite trends were visible in the shifts of CIOs.

Quite a few of the Indian CIOs took up more global roles. Dhiren Savla, veteran Indian CIO-and known for his ability to throw up succinct one-liners about some of the most complex issues in enterprise IT-who has spent a significant amount of time in travel services firm VFS Global, was assigned a broader responsibility when the parent company Kuoni chose him to be the Group CIO, in November. Savla now looks after both VFS Global and Kuoni and is based in Dubai. While Savla's elevation was well publicized, the year also saw a low profile but respected CIO, Maninder Kartik taking up Asia CIO role of Whirlpool; she was earlier CIO for South Asia for the company. Kartik will continue to be based out of Gurgaon. In August, Manish Patel, CIO of General Motors India moved as CIO (Manufacturing) of Stallion Group, to be based Lagos, Nigeria. This perfectly supplements the trend of Indians taking up important CIO assignments in other countries (See, CIO Appointments in America: The Indian Summer).

Many CIOs took larger responsibilities and/or moved within their groups-both within and outside IT functions. Mukesh Rathi, Sr Director at Dr Reddy's Lab was promoted to be the VP and CIO of the company. Munish Mittal, an SVP with HDFC Bank-and a veteran in the company-was given the CIO role of the bank in September. N Jayantha Prabhu, one of the most respected CIOs in the industry-who also emerged as one of the most social CIOs on Twitter, as ranked by CIO&Leader recently-was made the Group CIO of the company. He has been with Essar for more than one and a half decade. Sanjay Prasad, who was heading TCS' BPO's IT and business alignment-and a veteran BPO industry CIO-moved to new domain but within the Tata group as CIO, Tata Power.

Some changes impacted functions outside IT too. Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka, in a big rejig in February chose a frontline business executive, V G Dheeshjith, SVP and Head of Growth Markets to take up the newly created CIO's role. Maruti Suzuki too vested the people development responsibility on its long-time CIO, Rajesh Uppal. Ajay Dhir, another industry veteran, who joined Adhunik Group in June also was given both the CIO and Chief Human Resources Officer position. These changes, more than anything, show a welcome change-of CIO's position becoming like any top business executive's role with lateral movements both ways.

While there were quite a few cross-industry movements, one industry stood out in terms of CIO movements: pharmaceuticals. Almost one-third of all changes involved a pharma company-either to or from it. The intra-industry movements include those of Nitin Parmar as CIO and SVP IT of Intas Pharma from Alembic; of Atanu Roy as SVP/CIO, Sun Pharma from Dr Redyy's Lab; of Sanjay Moralwar as Global CIO of Zydus/Cadila from Torrent Pharma; and of Gopal Rangaraj as CIO of Alembic Pharma from Reliance Life Science. Those who moves to other industries from Pharma include Meheriar Patel, who left Sun Pharma to join as the CTO of Essar Group's retail venture, TheMobileStore Ltd; A balaji who moved from Piramal to UPL as the latter's Global CIO; and Milind Khamkar, the long-time CIO of SANOFI South Asia to Super-Max as its CIO. Aurobindo Pharma hired Gyan Pandey as its new CIO from IIT services firm, Enrich LLC. Dr Reddy's promoted its Sr Director Mukesh Rathi to VP & CIO position.

There were other significant movements too. Bhavin Purohit joined as the Group CIO of Arvind Ltd in January. He was earlier with ICICI Bank. Vinod Sivarama Krishnan, the erstwhile CIO of Wal-Mart India moved as the CIO and Head, E-commerce for Usha International. Sudesh Agarwal, long-time CIO of retail major Landmark Group moved to Sterling Holiday Resorts as its CIO. Srinivas Tata moved from Essar Projects to take up the role of CIO at Adani Ports & SEZ. L N Bangur Group too hired Abhay Karhade from HP as its CIO. Vodafone India CIO Anthony Thomas took a big shift as CIO, GE India. Harnath Babu quit as the CIO of Aviva Life India to take up KPMG India's CIO position. Samir Dhaga, erstwhile CIO of Videocon D2H moved to PI Industries as its CIO.

There are other very recent CIO movements that have not yet been announced. Industry sources reveal that Parvinder Singh, Corporate VP and Head, IT services at Max Life Insurance has moved to Fortis to head its IT function, though we could not verify it independently. Similarly, it is learnt Pramod Krishnamurthy, who served as CIO of Birla Sun Life and Aniruddha Paul, who served as CIO of ING Vysya Bank have also quit. We are yet to know where they will be joining.

Many of the veteran CIOs left their positions to take newer challenges in consulting, mentorship and even start-up roles. While a few of them retired, some other quit regular corporate jobs to take up the new challenges.

Hitesh Arora, CIO of Yum! Brands in India quit to join as director of a start-up CRM company, CRMNext. Suneel Aradhye, erstwhile CIO of RPG Grpup, quit to pursue consulting while devoting more time to CIO Angel Network. Navtej Matharu, an industry veteran who worked with BPO Industry for a long time, joined as a consulting CIO role.

The veteran CIOs who quit corporate roles to take similar challenges include S P Arya who left Amtek Group after eight and a half years and Sanjiv Kumar, who left as Group CIO of Adhunik Group after more than five years to join a start-up, ApON India. S C Mittal, the erstwhile CIO of IFFCO has been retained by the company as Officer on Special Duty.

Yet, one much awaited change-the position of Chief Digital Officer-remained elusive for CIOs. However, they can take heart from the fact the position itself has not been very common in large organizations, except in some industries like e-commerce firms and advertising/media.

For an alphabetical list of CIOs who had some change in their roles in 2015, see the table below

Data from

Published by HT Syndication with permission from The CTO Forum.

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Publication:The CTO Forum
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Dec 30, 2015
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