As with Infosys, the Mindtree row is just another case of founders’ folly

Yet another leading IT outsourcing firm in India is in the eye of a storm as its founders refuse to let go of the reins.

Bengaluru-based Mindtree has made headlines after one of its investors, the owner of coffee chain Café Coffee Day (CCD), VG Siddhartha, struck a deal to sell (pdf) his 20.32% stake in the company to Indian engineering giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T). The decision did not go down well with co-founders Krishnakumar Natarajan, Subroto Bagchi, Parthasarathy NS, and CEO Rostow Ravanan, who deemed the hostile takeover “a grave threat” to the 20-year-old organisation.

Yet another leading IT outsourcing firm in India is in the eye of a storm as its founders refuse to let go of the reins.

Bengaluru-based Mindtree has made headlines after one of its investors, the owner of coffee chain Café Coffee Day (CCD), VG Siddhartha, struck a deal to sell (pdf) his 20.32% stake in the company to Indian engineering giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T). The decision did not go down well with co-founders Krishnakumar Natarajan, Subroto Bagchi, Parthasarathy NS, and CEO Rostow Ravanan, who deemed the hostile takeover “a grave threat” to the 20-year-old organisation.

This emotional outburst from the founders is uncalled for, experts say.

“Part of managing a business as large as this is agility in dealmaking…the management have shown poorer acumen than one expects from professionals of their calibre,” Vivek Durai, founder of business intelligence platform Paper.VC, said in an email last week. “They have also shown an amazing lack of ownership and foresight repeating exactly the same mistake as (Infosys founder) NR Narayana Murthy by passing the baton forward from one founder to another. A silly tradition that should never have started in a company that promotes meritocracy.”

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