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Issue of August 2005 

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Renaissance man

Anil Vaidya of Philips has savoured many roles in life. Bubbling with ideas and enthusiasm, he is an eager learner and charismatic leader. by Newly Paul

A teacher, a manager, a student—Anil Vaidya, Director, Philips Global Infrastructure Services, takes on multiple roles with ease. Dynamic and youthful despite his 50-odd years, Vaidya has had a successful IT career spanning nearly three decades. An outstanding student and an insightful professional, he is among the top technology managers in the country. Deeply rooted in philosophy and religion, with a keen mind and an infectious sense of humour, Vaidya has always believed in giving life his best.

IT Beckons

Vaidya started his career with Goodlass Nerolac Paints as a research chemist. He soon shifted to IT on his brother’s advice. His first IT job was with Bombay Paints and Allied Products as a data processing manager. Vaidya’s initiation to IT was not without hiccups. “I felt out of place because unlike chemistry, which involves writing on paper, IT was abstract and purely logical,” he recalls.

Starring at Philips

Reads: Philosophical works.
Movies: Likes James Bond and Superman movies.
Passion: Beautiful cars, aeroplanes and computers.
Fond dream: To own a Mercedes.
Can’t stop talking about: The racetrack in Bangkok where Vaidya raced through.
Never travels without: Running shoes.
Chill-out zone: Travelling with friends on weekends.
Likes India because: “It offers much more than just monetary satisfaction.”
Swears by: The benefits of the Art of Living.
Politics: “Good people must get into politics to change the way things are. If I get into it, I shall have a cleaner party!”

Vaidya presently holds four different offices at Philips. He is the Director, Global Infrastructure Services, of Philips India, and the Cluster Director for India, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand. He is also the HR Director for the Asia-Pacific region, and was recently appointed Global HR Director for IT and made responsible for talent and organisation management for worldwide Global Infrastructure IT Services in Philips.

Vaidya finds it difficult to pinpoint one particular project as his most challenging, but his career at Philips has seen him take on many important projects. One of these was the network rationalisation project for building a reliable network and DRP system. Also close to his heart is the VSAT-based communication programme, which won an award in Singapore.

Moving With The Times

Vaidya is an implementer, but he also strongly believes in academics. He believes that it is essential for CIOs to update themselves continuously and keep in touch with emerging trends in technology. “It is only by investing in themselves that CIOs can improve the quality of their work,” he asserts. In the last six years, Vaidya has cleared three exams. “While preparing for these exams, I read and think a lot, which is essential for my job.”

In addition to his role as a student, Vaidya has been a visiting faculty at premier management colleges in Mumbai for the past two decades. He says it is this mix of professional practice and academics that keeps him fit.

It is only by investing in themselves that CIOs can improve the quality of their work

Vaidya points out that there have been rapid changes in the Indian IT scenario. With globalisation, new technologies have come quickly into the Indian market, and there has been an improvement in the IT infrastructure. Employment opportunities have gone up with the IT boom, and professionals of this industry enjoy better perks than before.

Advice to CIOs

To be successful, it is essential for a CIO to have confidence, knowledge and the correct attitude towards work

According to Vaidya, one of the most important functions of a CIO is relationship management. “CIOs must ensure that their employees advance in terms of technology and professionalism, and develop a positive attitude towards life.” He also believes that work pressure will convert into tension if one is unable to deliver. Therefore, to be successful, it is essential for a CIO to have confidence, knowledge and the correct attitude towards work.

Support System

Vaidya credits his wife for his successful career. He says that during his studies in the US, she managed home and children. But he is also a firm believer in collaborative efforts at home. “The age-old concept of women being restricted to the home is fast disappearing. While it is essential for women to have their own identity, it is equally necessary for them to have a strong link with their families,” he states.

A successful professional and family man, Vaidya has no complaints or regrets about life. Any plans for retirement? “I will never retire,” he says with his typical humour, then signs off on a serious note: “My teaching assignments will continue.”

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Indian Express - Business Publications Division

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