Friday, April 15, 2005

Is HCL the new HLL?

Ten years ago, many people held the view that Hindustan Lever (HLL) was the fount of managerial talent, and many CEOs (of other companies) had HLL on their resumes. Today's Economic Times claims that HCL (Shiv Nadar's conglomerate that has within its fold HCL Infosystems, HCL Technologies, NIIT and many others), goes beyond even HLL. Apparently, not only do managers flow out of HCL like Ganges out of Gangothri (or innovations out of Google), but entrepreneurs do as well!

In a growing economy, when many new firms come into existence, isn't it evident that many CEO's would be needed? Wouldn't they come from existing companies? All else being equal, wouldn't more of them come from big companies than from small companies? Wouldn't there be a good number of CEOs who had worked earlier at Reliance, HLL, ITC, Infosys, Wipro, et al?

Has HCL been truly unique in developing managerial and entrepreneurial talent? The article, written by Vinod Mahanta, tries hard, but I am not convinced.