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In her first annual general meeting (AGM) address as the chairperson of HCL Technologies Ltd, Roshni Nadar Malhotra said the pandemic has changed the way businesses operate and digital transformation will continue to drive the company’s business agenda.

Describing 2019-20 as a tale of two chapters, she said while in the first three quarters HCL increased the strength of its core business verticals such as banking and financial services, technology, life sciences and healthcare, the second chapter was led by the covid-19 pandemic which accelerated digital transformation and led to new ways of working and new opportunities. “Tough times do not last but tough people do, or I would say battle-tested businesses do," she told shareholders.

Nadar Malhotra, 38, took over as chairperson on 17 July, after her father Shiv Nadar, 75, stepped down from the position, to become the first woman to head an Indian publicly traded software firm.

Nadar Malhotra said the covid-19 outbreak fundamentally changed the way businesses operate and considering that the company took early steps to combat the impact of the pandemic, it had an advantage and was able to manage and mitigate the impact on its business operations and that of its clients. “What was once viewed as 5 to 10 years away is now possible through focus, ingenuity and innovation," she added.

The pandemic has created new demand and growth for products and services such as cybersecurity, e-commerce, digital marketing, and digital experience. For instance, work-from-home highlighted the need for ensuring cybersecurity in the last mile between office and home. “We are very well positioned to capitalize on the opportunities and continue to work tirelessly to deliver best-in-class products, services and solutions that our clients and stakeholders have come to expect from HCL," she said.

Going forward, HCL will continue to invest in enhancing its capabilities, attracting top talen, and innovating for the future as it addresses the challenges and opportunities of a new world order. “Digital transformation for our clients and within our enterprise will continue to drive our business agenda," she added.

Nadar Malhotra said the headcount for HCL’s New Vistas programme, under which it has set up centres in smaller cities including Madurai and Lucknow, is up by 34% from the last fiscal year.

Talking about HCL’s financial performance, the chairperson said that the company’s Mode 1-2-3 Strategy has helped it deliver balanced growth and enabled it to perform at the top end of its revenue guidance and exceed the top end of its margin guidance for the year.

In a mid-quarter update HCL had said it expects revenue to grow by over 3.5% in the current quarter, higher than the 1.5-2.5% growth it had projected in July. Operating profit margins are now estimated to be around 100 basis points higher than its earlier target.

Nadar Malhotra said HCL Technologies will continue to invent, innovate and lead to create value and wealth for all its stakeholders with a spirit of collaboration.

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