New Head, New Agenda

Som Mittal, President & CEO of Digital Globalsoft Ltd, has just been appointed as the new Chairman of NASSCOM for the year 2003-04. He takes over from Arun Kumar who was the Chairman for the year 2002-03.

Along with the new Chairman, NASSCOM has also elected a new Executive Council. Jerry Rao, Chairman & CEO, Mphasis BFL Ltd, and S Ramadorai, CEO, TCS, have been appointed as Vice Chairman for the year 2003-04 and 2004-05 respectively. All the appointments were unanimous.

The newly elected Executive Council will serve a term of two years between 2003 to 2005. The new council consists of 18 members and reflects a wide representation of the industry including members from the various sectors of the IT industry.

Interestingly, Mittal is taking over as the Chairman in rather difficult circumstances. In the last couple of months, the going has been rather tough for the software industry considering the number of times Indian software professionals who have landed in trouble in different countries.

First it was the arrest of Arun Jain and other senior officials of Polaris Software by the Indonesian authorities. Then a number of Indian software programmers were harassed by the Malaysian Government. And then recently the CEO of Iflex was arrested by the British police on a complaint by Dutch authorities.

Industry observers see a pattern in these incidents. According to them, these are not isolated cases and will only increase in the coming months considering the success of the Indian software companies internationally. As the BPO jobs seem to be moving to India, people in other countries are beginning to feel threatened.

This is where Mittal will have to play a prominent role. That is, evangelize the cause of Indian software industry worldwide and reassure them that India is not taking away their jobs. Rather it is only complementing them and helping companies there become more competitive.

No doubt, Mittal is the right man for this rather tough job. An industry veteran, he is widely recognized to have transformed Digital India from a being a hardware entity to a very successful and profitable services company. His global knowledge, experience and access apart from his user industry expertise will come in handy for his new role. He would need to adopt a focused approach to take on the challenge in the present economic, regulatory and market environment.

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