Ashok Soota, Executive Chairman, Happiest Minds, a next generation IT Services company, is widely recognized as one of the pioneering leaders of the Indian IT industry.
Prior to founding Happiest Minds in August 2011, Ashok led the growth of Wipro’s IT business from US$ 2 million to US$ 500 million run-rate. Subsequently, he was founding Chairman & MD of Mindtree and led it through a very successful IPO. His second entrepreneurial venture, Happiest Minds has already established several benchmarks in the IT Services industry in India and is on course to achieve its goal of being the fastest to achieve US$ 100 million revenue.
Ashok began his career in 1965 with the Shriram Group of Industries in India. In 1978, he became CEO of Shriram Refrigeration, a company which was unprofitable for four straight years. Ashok facilitated a complete turnaround, making it profitable in his very first year and taking it to a position of leadership in each of its product lines.
Ashok is a leader of industry. He was President of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), India’s largest Industry association and also President of Manufacturers’ Association of Information Technology. He has served on the Prime Minister’s Task Force for IT and on the Advisory Council for the World Intellectual Property Organization, Geneva. For his contributions to India’s IT industry, he has been recognized twice as IT Man of the Year, also as Electronics Man of the Year, and recognized at Infocom 2013, Kolkata, as one of the 12 Gems who helped to build Indian IT Industry. The companies he has led have created about 25,000 jobs during his leadership tenure.
Ashok’s philanthropic contributions are channeled through Ashirvadam, a Trust he has created for Environmental Protection and help for the needy including vocational training, education and medical assistance.
Ashok holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Roorkee University (now IIT, Roorkee) and an MBA from the Asian Institute of Management, Philippines. He is a Fellow of INAE. Ashok’s hobbies include trekking, the outdoors, yoga, taichi and meditation.
CEO & MD, Happiest Minds | Acting CEO, Infrastructure Management & Security Services
Sashi comes to Happiest Minds with rich and varied experience. In his most recent role as Managing Director for CSC in India, Sashi’s responsibilities included delivery operations, Solution Architecting team as well as Global Bid Management Process. As Executive Sponsor for multiple large customer accounts, Sashi made significant breakthroughs in Global and India accounts for CSC.
Sashi has total of 23 years’ experience in the IT industry of which 11 years have included Profit Centre responsibility. Sashi’s experience includes an interesting blend of Product and Services companies which is very useful for innovation in a world of productized services and solutions. His past companies includes SAP, Microsoft and Wipro, where he began his career.
In SAP, Sashi built their Emerging markets services business between 2011 and March 2014 and also had responsibility for Global Delivery.
At Microsoft, he built and managed the largest Global Tech Support Centre for Microsoft’s enterprise and premier customers.
Sashi has been a guest speaker for the EMBA programs at SMU, Dallas; SJSU, San Jose; RIT, New York; Wake Forest-NC and NUS, Singapore.
He is closely involved with an NGO that focuses on palliative care and empowering underprivileged people with vocational skills.
Sashi holds a B.Tech degree in Engineering and Technology in Applied Electronics Engineering.
LAVANYA ‘LEO’ RASTOGI
CEO, Digital Transformation and Enterprise Solutions(DT&ES)
Lavanya is a blended mix of a serial entrepreneur, technology thought leader and philanthropist. Lavanya joins Happiest Minds via its acquisition of OSSCube. Lavanya was the CEO and Chief Mentor of OSSCube, a global leader in digital transformation solutions.
Lavanya started his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 20 by founding his first IT company, which as CEO grew into over 22 countries, servicing leading fortune 500 organizations and winning presidential recognition for outstanding quality of research and commercialization of innovative technology.
Throughout his career, Lavanya has won numerous awards including CEO of the Year ( World HRD Congress, 2015) and Distinguished Young Entrepreneur Awards (AGBA, 2008). Companies founded by him have been recognized by INC5000® and Great Places to Work®.
An alumnus of the Harvard Business School, Lavanya is also an active early stage investor. His personal portfolio spans companies in IoT, high tech engineering, healthcare, education and entertainment. He has also been sought out for his expertize to serve on the board of public and non-profits companies.
He is passionate about promoting access to healthcare worldwide through innovative solutions – a cause he supports through his non-profits.
Lavanya lives in Houston, Texas. In his leisure time, he enjoys reading, watching movies and watching the Houston Sparks – a cricket team he co-owns – play in their home stadium.
CEO, Product Engineering Services
Joseph has over 19 years of professional experience spanning multiple industries including technology, banking and manufacturing – of which 14 years were spent in software product engineering services working with a wide range of software product companies.
He has developed a deep understanding of delivering software products in a distributed mode and uses this experience to advise and guide customers on their outsourcing strategy.
Prior to Happiest Minds, Joseph held P&L responsibility for a critical business unit (Microsoft Strategic Business Unit) in Mindtree, which contributed 8% of the company’s revenues. In this role, Joseph was responsible for drafting and implementing a strategy that doubled revenues and established Mindtree as the leader in the Cloud and Testing space.
Before taking on the above P&L responsibility, Joseph played the role of Sales Head and Director – Business Development with Aztecsoft (which was acquired by Mindtree), establishing a relationship with Microsoft and rapidly scaling it into a multi-million dollar account. He was also responsible for winning several large deals during a very critical phase of the company. During his 11 years with the company, Joseph was also involved with Marketing, Account Management and several strategic initiatives.
Joseph holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from BITS Pilani and PGDM from IIM Ahmedabad.
Head – IoT CoE
Sandeep Agarwal has 23+ years of industry experience covering a broad portfolio in across diverse sectors such as Industrial, Consumer Electronics, Digital Enterprise, Telecom Communications, Enterprise Networking, Embedded Technologies and Data Center Domains. At Happiest Minds, Sandeep built the ER&D business acquiring some major and marque customers in Networking, Industrial, Semi and Embedded Technologies. Sandeep helped incubate the IoT focus and forged solid partnerships with Intel, Microsoft, PTC and many other companies to provide end-to-end solutions and system integration services to Happiest Minds’ customers. As part of the Executive Board, Sandeep supports various major and minor initiatives at the company level. Sandeep also actively participates in the ER&D council at IESA and NASSCOM apart from actively partaking in the start-up eco-system.
Prior to joining Happiest Minds, Sandeep was with MindTree for 12+ years and was part of the core team that was instrumental in growing MindTree’s Product Engineering Services business in the global market. He played a key role in establishing successful multi-year relationships with a host of Fortune500 companies. Sandeep was also a recipient of MindTree’s prestigious Chairman’s award and Citizen’s award and headed the PM Council at MindTree for the year 2007-2008.
Sandeep started his career with Tata Unisys in Mumbai, and then moved onto working with Lucent Technologies Bell labs as part of their 3GPP/UMTS initiatives in the late nineties.
Sandeep is a regular speaker at international and domestic industry events and outside of work he is a core member of Words of Peace, Global non-profit organization to support and spread message of peace promoted by its founder Mr. Prem Rawat.
Sandeep Agarwal holds Bachelor of Electronics Engineering degree with distinction from Shivaji University, Maharashtra and also completed the Advanced Computing Diploma from CDAC Pune.
Head – Analytics CoE
With 20 plus years of experience in the technology industry, Sunil leads the Analytics Centre of Excellence and is also part of the Executive board at Happiest Minds. He comes with lots of experience in building and scaling Data Science, Data Engineering and Platform Engineering functions for Fortune 500 companies as well as start-ups.
Before joining Happiest Minds, Sunil was VP of Engineering at Ola and built Data Science and Platform Engineering functions for Customer engagement. Sunil also was a Technology fellow and VP of Data science and Middleware Engineering at investment bank Goldman Sachs where he was heading the Global Data Science function for the Technology division. Prior to Goldman Sachs, Sunil spent time at LinkedIn as a Lead Data Scientist and Head of Data Infrastructure- India.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from BVB college of Engineering- Hubli and a Master’s in Business Administration from Lucas School of Business, San Jose, California.
Head - Operations
Nanda has 21 years of in-depth global experience in software and enterprise product development having worked with Mindtree, Aztecsoft and IBM in various senior leadership roles. Nanda has led and managed global practices, product development, support and professional services leveraging geographically distributed teams.
Prior to Happiest Minds, Nanda played multiple leadership roles at Aztecsoft (now a part of Mindtree). During his 11 years with the company, he was instrumental in winning many multi-million-dollar deals, running independent P&L units, and in establishing the Product Engineering Practice. During his tenure, he also helped Mindtree establish a thought leadership position in the Offshore Product Engineering segment. Before joining MindtreeAztecsoft, Nanda was leading an engineering team at IBM.
Nanda distinguishes himself in building and sustaining strong customer loyalties. He has an excellent track record of aggressively building, developing and executing strategic vision for business growth. His core strength lies in creating and managing globally distributed engineering teams and practices.
He is responsible for all engineering, technology management, and operational activities of the PES business at Happiest Minds.
Nanda holds a postgraduate degree in Computer Applications from University of Hyderabad and a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Utkal University.
Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer and Industry Group Head
Salil has 20 years of experience in the IT industry across global Product and Services companies. His breadth of functional experience include P&L Ownership, Marketing, Vertical Markets Development, Product Management, M&A and Alliances. He has extensive work experience in new business incubation or growth engines from identification to operations.
Prior to Happiest Minds, Salil was with Mindtree for 4 years as the Chief Strategy Officer/M&A and held P&L responsibility of an Industry group. Before Mindtree, Salil gained 12 years’ experience in the United States working for various software product companies large as well as start-ups. His accomplishments include growing a new product to $30 million in revenue, successful market positioning of multiple products, handling global marketing for a $300 million business and multiple M&As.
Salil has a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial engineering from IIT, Roorkee, and is a Masters in Manufacturing Engineering from Boston University.
Chief People Officer
Raja has been in the IT industry for over 27 years. He has successfully executed diverse roles including Internal Audit, Operations, Program Management, Sales, Large Account Management, Practice Building, Profit Center head and CSR initiatives.
In Happiest Minds, he is responsible for building the Happiest Workplace environment.
Before co-founding Happiest Minds, he was the CEO of Mindtree Foundation where he implemented challenging and innovative initiatives for Persons with Disabilities and Primary education. During his tenure of two years, Mindtree Foundation came to be considered a thought leader in Assistive Technologies in India.
In his earlier roles in Mindtree, he managed the P&L responsibilities of APAC Business (India, Singapore, Australia and Middle East). He established strong regional leadership teams that turned around the business at the crossroads. Prior to that, he set up the Testing Practice as an independent business, growing it into a world class team of over 500 testers in an 18 month period. He joined Mindtree after a 13 year stint in Wipro’s Technology Business.
Raja is a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics and Communication from CEG, Anna University, Chennai, and an MBA from Bharathidasan Institute of Management (BIM), Tiruchi.
Raja has been a Member of NASSCOM Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee, NASSCOM Foundation’s Disability Advisory Group and CII – Disability Forum and sits on the Board of Fourth Wave Foundation, an organization focused on Inclusive development, is a Trustee at Comm-DEALL, an early intervention program for children with ASD and learning disorders and a member of Experts Panel for National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN). He is a sought after speaker at various HR Conferences and has also presented at the NASSCOM D&I National and Regional Conferences. He was a core Member of the organizing team of Disability Conference January 2011, organized by Govt. of Karnataka, Dept. of IT, BT and S&T. He has served as a Member of the Assistive Technology Advisory Group, Spastics Society of Karnataka and has been on the Board of Studies of BIM and a member of IT Quality of Forum of Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
Raja is a trained counselor and volunteers his weekend evenings at a pastoral counseling center in Bangalore.
Head, Engineering & Business Excellence
Raja has 18 years’ experience in Quality Management, Project Management, Software Engineering processes, Change Management, Metrics and Analytics and Value Engineering. He has been a core member of the quality team in Infosys, one of the largest IT firms in India.
In his most recent role, Raja was responsible for organizational delivery performance and engineering capability improvement. He has extensive experience in leading quality initiatives across the organization.
Raja holds an M.Tech Degree from BITS Pilani.
Chief Financial Officer
Venkat is a thorough finance professional with 20+ years of rich and diverse experience with a keen eye for business. Venkat hails from a family of Chartered Accountants. He started his career as a Consultant with Arthur Andersen advising and assisting foreign companies setting up operations in India.
While assisting SAP establish its Indian operations he moved into the IT Industry. Since then Venkat has been CFO of multiple services companies in the outsourcing and off-shoring services business. His past experience spans across being CFO of Team Lease – India’s largest Temp Staffing Company, CFO of Sonata Software Limited where he was instrumental and part of one of the best turnaround stories in the recent past, CFO of Perot Systems, Director of Operations at Oracle, and being the first Head of Finance at MindTree Limited.
Venkat is a Chartered Accountant and is known in the Industry for his thought leadership on issues around taxation and related issues faced by the services industry in India.
Chief Information, Knowledge and Security Officer
Darshan has over 20 years of experience in technology consulting and implementation across retail, and discrete manufacturing domains. He has held myriad responsibilities from defining solutions to driving efficiencies and enhancing productivity to championing multi-million dollar sales growth for large enterprise accounts.
He is a passionate follower, consumer and evangelist of technology products and trends.
He holds a Bachelor of Technology degree from Regional Engineering College, Warangal.
Darshan has several awards to his credit. Most recently, he was awarded the CIO100 – Astute 100 Award in 2013, the CIO 100 Security Supremo Award in 2014, Top 100 CISO Award in 2014. Under his leadership, Happiest Minds was awarded the 2013 Express IT IT-Biz Award.