Five years ago, when Vivek Paul told his boss Jeff Immelt that he was leaving his post as global head of GE Medical Systems (GE ) to join an obscure, $150 million Indian software services and hardware company, Immelt tried to dissuade him. But Paul joined Wipro (WIT ) anyway. Now Wipro is India's largest listed IT services company, with revenues near $1 billion.
Paul, a 45-year-old engineer born and educated in India with an MBA from the University of Massachusetts, set an audacious goal: to be among the top 10 global tech-services companies in four years. Wipro isn't there yet, but thanks to low rates and efficient service, it's on its way. Working with Azim Premji, who owns 84% of Wipro, Paul acquired U.S.-based financial-services consultant NerveWire and the utilities practice of consultancy AMS. He also capitalized on Wipro's position as the world's largest provider of outsourced tech R&D to woo business from the auto and electronics industries.
Paul, who alternates between Mountain View, Calif., and Bangalore, India, runs the company by remote, using video-conferencing, e-mail, and an internal Web site to communicate with his 25,000 employees. They post their achievements on the intranet, and Paul highlights the best of them -- a little trick that is working quite well.
-- When Paul joined Wipro in August, 1999, it was a $150 million company; today, it's nearly $1 billion.
-- Paul's strategy of growth by acquisition is helping Wipro steal business from the likes of IBM Global and Accenture.