IT industry’s apex body NASSCOM has appointed Rekha M Menon as its chairperson for 2021-22. Currently the chairperson and senior managing director at Accenture in India, Menon becomes the first woman in NASSCOM’s 30-year history to take on the top role.
Menon, who earlier served as the vice-chairperson, succeeds U B Pravin Rao, CEO of Infosys who served as chairman of the organisation till this year. TCS President Krishnan Ramanujam will be the vice-chairperson during her tenure. Notably, the Executive Council has 40% representation by women leaders.
Commenting on her election, Menon said that she was honoured and humbled by the vote of confidence by the NASSCOM Executive Council at such a crucial time for the industry.
“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to test the resilience of our more than 4 million people, even as it has created new opportunities for growth with technology emerging as the lifeline for societies and economies across the world. As we cautiously navigate the pandemic, I look forward to working with the NASSCOM executive council and its members to drive our industry’s long-term growth," Menon said.
She emphasised the need for the industry to focus on growth and augment India’s position as the digital talent nation for the world, drive people-first innovation and work with the government to create a conducive policy environment needed for sustainable growth.
Prior to her stint at Accenture, Menon was an entrepreneur at two technology companies — Talisma Corporation and Aditi Services. A graduate of XLRI School of Business, Menon’s achievements have ensured her a spot as one of India’s most influential women in the tech industry. She is also a key driver of Accenture's Inclusion and Diversity and Corporate Citizenship initiatives and social impact initiative, Skills to Succeed. An advocate for change, she champions her support for social causes through her association with not-for-profit organisations Pratham Books and Akshara Foundation.
Despite being a gold medallist during graduation, Menon has shared that she had initially found it difficult to find a job as companies were apprehensive about hiring women. She also revealed that during her early stint at Ashok Leyland, she was the only woman on the shop floor. Several decades later, she is now a constant fixture in lists like Fortune India’s Most Powerful Women in business. With more women now occupying top spots, there is hope that the Indian IT industry moves towards being more gender equitable.
(Edited by Amrita Ghosh)