Tech Mahindra (TechMa) is betting big on in-house entrepreneurship among young talents.
The eight-year-old firm, which merged with parent Mahindra Satyam on June 25 last year to become the country's fifth largest software firm, is excited at the success of its 'shadow board'.
Currently in its third batch, TechMa's shadow board is part of a programme to identify potential CEOs among its young talents. 'Young' does not necessarily refer to the person's age – here, it could also refer to the length of time an executive has spent with the firm; but such candidates are usually in the 28-32 age-group.
Since the last two years, TechMa has been trying to discover future leaders from within the organisation.
Manoj Chugh, global head of business development – enterprise division, said, "We have a lot of talented people. We consider ourselves to be an entrepreneurial company, a $3 billion start-up, if you will."
TechMa's shadow board is reaching a stage of maturity, he said, and will likely solve the problem of high attrition (15% in the last seven quarters; 17% in October-December).
TechMa, part of the $16.7 billion Mahindra group, already has two young CEOs: Rahul Bhuman, 28, and Raghav Kumeria, 29, who have been with the company for barely a year.
Now, it plans to hire 6-7 more young CEOs by this year-end, and 15-20 by 2015-end, to reach its goal of becoming a $5 billion firm.
Shadow board is complemented by '1000 leaders' programme which screens potential leaders, trains them and tasks them with key projects.
"The young CEOs come in through an extensive process of assessment. They would then be assigned to different areas like platforms, sub-verticals or other initiatives. Their role would be to own a platform end-to-end, take responsibility and drive that business forward," said Chugh.
Bhuman helped set up an engineering school in Hyderabad in association with Ecole Centrale of Paris. The Mahindra Ecole Centrale is co-located with one of TechMa's development centres.
By decentralising operations under several CEOs, TechMa is both seeking to be different from iconic IT firms and expanding senior management bandwidth.
Young CEOs thus are encouraged to focus on big tasks like exploring investment opportunities and acquisitions. "This programme is a big positive for even the firm's customers as the latter get the benefit of perspectives of young minds of the digital age," said Chugh.