Ashoka Soota quits MindTree, to start new venture

Former top Wipro executive and co-founder and executive chairman of mid-sized IT firm MindTree Ltd, Ashok Soota, announced his surprise resignation from the company, without attributing any reasons.
 
Soota said in Bangalore that it was a ''well-considered'' decision and it was for personal reasons. ''I will finalise and announce my plans for a new business venture, shortly after my departure from MindTree,'' he adds.
 
He sent in his resignation to the board of directors, asking to be relieved by March 31. Soota, 67, with an 11.14-per cent stake, is the largest shareholder among the promoters, who collectively control more than 32 per cent of the shares.
 
In 1999, Soota and nine other senior executives resigned from Wipro Infotech and decided to set up their own venture. Venture capital firms Walden International and Global Technology Ventures helped them establish MindTree.
 
The company has been acknowledged as one of the best, mid-sized company in the Indian outsourcing space. It was ranked 13th in the 2009-10 NASSCOM listing of top-20 IT software and service exporters (excluding BPOs) in India and the 19th among the IT services companies by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) in its annual list of the top-100 global outsourcing companies for 2009.
 
A graduate of the Roorkee University (now Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee) and an MBA from the Asian Institute of Management, the Philippines, Soota joined Wipro Infotech and became its president in 1984. In 15 years, under his leadership, revenues grew from $2 million to $500 million.
 
The ambitious Soota wanted to catapult MindTree to the big league and set up a goal of achieving a turnover of $1 billion by 2014. However, his colleagues, including many of those who had quit Wipro along with him and founded the company, were not so sure the feat could be achieved in such a short time.

Earlier this month, the company announced its third-quarter results; revenues grew by 3.5 per cent (quarter-over-quarter) and 21 per cent (year-over-year) to $85.25 million. Profit after tax shot up 34.6 per cent QoQ and 15.9 per cent YoY to $6.73 million. Last year it had clocked in revenues of $340 mi8llion. But net profit had plunged 41.1 per cent from a year ago because of a $3.7 million restructuring cost.

Soota assured shareholders that his resignation would not pose any difficulties the leadership team - comprising vice-chairman Subroto Bagchi and CEO and managing director Krishnakumar Natarajan - as they were ''persons of the finest financial integrity, and I am confident of their ability to achieve the company's goals.''