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The Rediff Interview/A S Murty, CEO, Satyam Computer Services

'Satyam Q3 results will take quite some time'

BS Reporter in Mumbai | February 11, 2009

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The Satyam fiasco: Complete coverage

Insider A S Murty's appointment as the chief executive officer of the scam-tainted Satyam Computer Services [Get Quote] received mixed reactions.

While some industry observers said it's good for the company, others dismissed him as an interim arrangement before the government-appointed board finally sells out the company. In an email interview to Business Standard, he details his course of action. Edited excerpts:

What do you have to say about having sold shares a few days before the scam came to light?

Yes, I had sold some shares to finance the construction of my house, which is nearly completed. These shares were sold after following due process under Satyam's insider trading guidelines.

The new board has looked into the sale and conducted its due diligence on this issue as well before requesting me to anchor this role. This issue has also been cleared by legal advisors.

You said the firm will chart a precise and practical plan. Could you share details?

We are in the process of creating detailed plans for the next 30, 60, and 90 days. Having secured funding, our immediate focus remains on assuring associates and customers, determining Satyam's strategic options, and providing stability and leadership.

When these are achieved, we will turn our attention to medium- and long-term programmes. These options will address the interests of all stakeholders.

What is the nature of the interactions between you and the special advisors, Homi Khusrokhan and Partho S Datta?

I am working with Khusrokhan and Datta on several strategic matters, including action-oriented short- and medium-term plans.

These gentlemen bring considerable experience and an external perspective to their duties. With these appointments, Satyam now has a roster of world-class talent at its helm that is quite unlike any other in the Indian IT industry.

When can the investors expect Q3 results?

Keeping in mind that the company must restate accounts for the last several years, the effort will take quite some time. Painstaking work on this is underway to ensure that it happens quickly and as accurately as possible.

It is noteworthy that the teams charged with restating accounts will be ably assisted by special advisors, notably Partho S Datta, the former finance director of the Murugappa Group.

Since you have expertise in both human resources and global delivery, what steps will you take to boost employee morale?

Fortunately, morale is strong within the organisation. Associate attrition is well within control, and teams remain committed to clients and to one another.

To further enhance the morale, we provide regular, clear and forthright communication via town hall-style meetings, webinars, a daily newsletter and email updates from me and other senior executives.

All of these are well received because they describe the organisation's day-to-day progress and refute wrong or misleading information that appears in various media outlets.

As the man behind the company's global delivery, where do you see Satyam's business intelligence practice heading by the end of March?

We cannot predict how many BI projects we will win between now and the end of March, but we can confidently say that this practice, like many others, is thriving despite difficult circumstances.

Moreover, we realise we have the commitment and perseverance of our associates to thank for this success.

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