Ravi Venkatesan to quit Microsoft

Ravi Venkatesan to quit Microsoft

Ravi Venkatesan, the chairman and public face of Microsoft’s Indian arm, has announced that he will soon leave the company, in what will be the third exit of a senior executive from the company.

Interestingly, Venkatesan, who said he will now focus on finishing his book and will reassess his priorities, joined the company exactly seven years to the day, Saturday.

The company didn’t immediately announce a successor for him.

Earlier this year, Rajan Anandan quit as the country manager of Microsoft India; he was recently named the India sales head for Google.

Shortly after, Srinivas Koppolu, the head of the company’s development centre in India, also left.

Venkatesan denied that there was anything untoward in these exits and pointed out that Koppolu left after at least two decades at the company and that he himself is leaving after having achieved all the objectives he set for himself when he took over as chairman of the company. He also denied that he would be joining Reliance Industries Ltd, which will roll out by the end of this year, its mobile wireless network.

Microsoft India had revenue of Rs3,775 crore in 2009-10 according to Dataquest magazine. The company does not disclose revenue for India. The Indian revenue was less than Rs1,000 crore when Venkatesan took over as chairman.

Venkatesan said he had been discussing his exit for sometime with the company and added that he will now focus on completing his book, Winning In India, which is about how multinational companies can succeed in the country.

Microsoft said in a release that it would soon name a successor and that Venkatesan would work closely with JeanPhilippe Courtois, president of Microsoft International, to effect a smooth transition.

“During his tenure at Microsoft, he added tremendous value to the company. He was engaged not just in the business aspects, but also engaged Microsoft with the government as well as the society. The initiatives that Ravi took around bettering (of) the education system are fantastic. Though we will miss him, but knowing Ravi I am sure he will continue to be engaged with the society," said Som Mittal, president of Nasscom.

“Ravi’s mandate was to unify Microsoft as there were a lot of different entities working. And he has done a commendable job on that front. Now everybody recognizes Microsoft as a conglomerate with a unified approach. And he was also very active on the lobby and the policy front which yielded great results for the company and the industry," said Kapil Dev Singh, an independent consultant and former country manger of market research firm IDC (India) Ltd.