Microsoft India: Exodus of top executives continues
Moneylife Digital Team 10 February 2011

Microsoft India continues to lose top executives, with Ravi Venkatesan, chairman and corporate vice-president, being the latest to resign

Software giant Microsoft may have managed to keep its clients for the Windows operating system and MS Office, but the company's Indian unit is finding it difficult to keep top executives from exiting the organisation. On Thursday, Ravi Venkatesan, chairman and corporate vice-president of its India operations, resigned to pursue other opportunities. He had joined Microsoft from Cummins India.

Microsoft said in a statement, "A successor (to Mr Venkatesan) will be named in the near future and Venkatesan will partner with Microsoft international president Jean-Philippe Courtois to ensure a smooth transition with his successor."

A few month ago, Rajan Anandan, managing director of Microsoft, left the company abruptly. After a short stint in angel funding, early this month he joined Google as vice-president for India sales and operations. Mr Anandan was with Microsoft for two years. Prior to Microsoft, he was vice-president and country general manager at Dell India.

According to an internal memo at Microsoft India, Rakesh Bakshi, associate general counsel and director for legal and corporate affairs, is also on his way out.

Last year in August, Srini Koppolu, a veteran at Microsoft and corporate vice-president and managing director, also left the company after 21 years with the company. Mr Koppolu, who started Microsoft India Development Centre (MSIDC) with a team of 20 people saw the group grow to over 1,500 people working on a 20-product group.

Similarly, Neelam Dhawan, Microsoft's first woman managing director in India, also left the company in 2008, to return to HP India as managing director. Ms Dhawan's departure happened at a time when India and three other countries were opposed to Microsoft's plans to make its Office Open XML file format a standard format in the country.

It is natural to wonder about the reason for the exit of so many top executives from Microsoft. The following blog comment at Mini-Microsoft (http://minimsft.blogspot.com) describes the problem: "People are leaving and the leadership never meets the employees. We have box manufacturers trying to sell software. We have a chairman who I have not seen in six months in person. I have seen him on TV and the newspaper a few times. We now spend so much time reporting and having conference calls that I cannot meet my customer. Do the Redmond people care about what is happening in MS India? Who can I complain to if I have a problem?"

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