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India Inc. and Young CEOs

ET Cases, 5 pages
AUTHOR(S) : Vandana Jayakumar and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Case Preview

India Inc. and Young CEOs


Expected Learning Outcomes

• The reasons behind interest and demand for young CEOs in India Inc.
• The industries ideally suited to have young CEOs to deliver the business mandates
• Merits and demerits of letting the young CEOs run the companies



India Inc. and Young CEOs

1. One of the most often cited advantages for India Inc. is its demographic dividend, especially its youth, the millennials. These millennials are expected to be restless, with intriguing characteristics. Would the millennials turn out to be true assets or would they remain on ‘wishful list’?

2. Can you think of a few Indian companies that have taken to young CEOs (less than 45 years)? How has been their performance?

3. Do you see this trend across the industries or only in a few?

4. India Inc. has also encouraged the co-existence of a family member alongside a professional CEO in the family businesses or a business-family-dominated firm like WIPRO, Godrej, etc. What does this signify for India Inc.?

5. .....................

Young CEOs, Old Companies and New Challenges

1. India is credited with two of the world's youngest CEOs – Shravan and Sanjay Kumaran and Sindhuja Rajamaran who became CEOs at the age of 12 years, 10 years and 10 years respectively. What's your assessment of these young CEOs?

2. While the young CEOs may have exuberance, they lack experience. Does the lack of experience not become an impediment to lead the companies through VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) times?

3. ..............


Exhibit I: Suitability of Young CEOs across Industries

Teaching Note Preview

India Inc. and Young CEOs



This case flyer enables a discussion on the interesting trend of India Inc. hiring relatively young, yet high potential and proven performers. There are several examples of individuals in their late 30s or early 40s donning the hat of a CEO. The case flyer tries to unravel the reasons behind this trend. At the same time it facilitates an interesting analysis – are young CEOs found across all the industries at India Inc.? The case flyer also enables a debate on the extent to which these young CEOs can shoulder what has been mandated for them. It proposes the co-existence of the older generation with the younger generation wherein the former can mentor and support the younger lot.

Before the Case Flyer Discussion in the Classroom

  • a. The participants were asked to read the article “Tremors at the Top” (Given as mandatory reading at the end of the Case Flyer)
  • b. Most importantly, the students were encouraged to analyze all the questions given in the case flyer (either individually or in learning teams or in appropriate discussion forums) for them to participate effectively and to enrich the learning outcomes


Expected Learning Outcomes

At the end of this case flyer, the participants should be well-versed with:

  • • The reasons behind interest and demand for young CEOs in India Inc.
  • • The industries ideally suited to have young CEOs to deliver the business mandates
  • • Merits and demerits of letting the young CEOs run the companies


Positioning and Setting

The case flyer can be used in the following modules/courses:

  • a. Leadership module in Organizational Behavior course
  • b. Human Resource Management’s Talent Management module – grooming the young talent to occupy corner seat


Suggested Orchestration

During the Case Flyer Discussion in the Classroom

The discussion on the Case Flyer was conducted under two broad related topics. The classroom analysis of the Case Flyer was carried out by discussing each of the questions of the case flyer elaborately.

However, for each of the two sections, the discussion hovered around an ‘anchor point of discussion’ as explained below.


Case Analysis


I. India Inc. and Young CEOs

1. The case flyer began with a discussion on the millennials and their intriguing characteristics. This was an ideal start to the case flyer as most of the participants were millennials themselves.

2. They opined that millennials are responsible, independent and ambitious youngsters. They value family security, health, honesty, freedom, true friendship and self-respect. They are globally concerned, realistic, cyber-savvy, tech-savvy and like to socialize in the cyber space.

3. The participants then listed some of the companies with young CEOs at India Inc. [Exhibit (TN)-I]. The class also discussed their performance since the time they took the topmost position. The case flyer and its discussion focused on individuals who had been elevated to leadership positions in various companies and not the young entrepreneur CEOs or young CEOs in family businesses.

4. On the basis of information given in the base article of the case flyer and from the individual knowledge of the participants, it was opined that the trend was skewed towards certain industries such as the technological and internet industry. The participants referred to the article, “Tremors at the Top”, that they were asked to read before the classroom discussion, in discussing this question.

5. .....................


Exhibit (TN)-I: Young CEOs at India Inc.

Exhibit (TN)-II: Suitability of Young CEOs Across Industries

Rs 0
Product code: OB-4-0026, OB-4-0026A


This case flyer and the base article1, suited for Organizational Behavior Course's Leadership module, enable a discussion on the increasing interest and demand for young CEOs, in India Inc. However, the demand for and interest in Young CEOs can be seen in a few industries and hence it's intriguing why companies from a few industries seem to be getting benefitted from Young CEOs. While there seem to be benefits from young CEOs, there are several challenges that are quite daunting. What are the challenges and how should companies and their boards handle them? How do benefits and challenges weigh in for the companies?

Pedagogical Objectives

  • To discuss and debate on the increasing interest and demand for young CEOs in India Inc.
  • To examine for which of the industries it makes business and economic sense to consider young CEOs to deliver the business mandates
  • To evaluate critically the merits and demerits of letting the young CEOs run the companies

1 Sreeradha D. Basu, 'India Inc Bets on Young Leaders to Drive Growth', 2014-02-18/news/47451303_1_philips-india-younger-ceos-india-inc, February 18th 2014

This Case Pack Includes:
 - Abstract
- Case Flyer
- Analysis

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