New Delhi: Deepak Parekh, Kiran Karnik and C Achuthan aren’t exactly the three musketeers, but the government’s new Board for Satyam is made up of a man for all seasons, a brand equity builder and a stickler for rules.
Their task - restore trust in the company after the ultimate act of betrayal by its founder Ramalinga Raju, an iconic Indian industry leader until he disclosed that he had been fudging the company’s accounts for years.
Parekh, 65, is the Chairman of HDFC, India’s premier housing finance institution and more than that the government’s adviser at large, while Karnik is credited with propping up the Indian IT industry and Achuthan with handling the Ketan Parekh securities scam case.
Parekh is widely consulted by the government on a wide range of issues of national importance and has been a member of various government appointed committees and advisory panels, which includes financial services, capital markets and infrastructure sector reforms.
He is also member of the Investment Commission that advises the government on ways to attract greater FDI inflows into India and would be amply complemented by Karnik - a revered brand equity builder.
One of Karnik’s successes has been to build global brand equity for the Indian software and service industry. But there is more to Karnik than what meets the eye. He launched the Discovery Channel in South Asia in August 1995 and Animal Planet in 1999 and could well be counted on to re-launch Satyam.
Not many know that Karnik worked for over 20 years in the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), where he held various positions related to the conception, planning and implementation of applications of space technology, focusing especially on the use of communications for development.
Karnik, born in 1947, was deeply involved in the conception and, for many years, overseeing the Kheda Communications Project.
The Board’s third member and one who holds the key to Satyam’s revival is Achuthan, who helped interpret securities laws in the country, as presiding officer of Securities Appellate Tribunal.
Achuthan is credited with overturning Sebi order on Kishore Chhabria-Vijay Mallya on the Herbertsons case pertaining to violation of takeover code.
It is widely believed that Achuthan is practical legal eagle who knows no fear nor favour. He has always appreciated transparency in his area of work - a class attribute that would help put Satyam back on its feet.
The biggest asset of Achuthan was that he was more concerned about investors’ interest than Sebi.
“We have to clear the mess,” was the message Parekh sent out after being named as a member of the Board along with Karnik and Achuthan.