By Mohammed Shafeeq, Hyderabad,
January 7, 2009 (IANS)
was the brand image of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad
was identified with this company, and its founder-chairman
B. Ramalinga Raju was a hero to youngsters. But
overnight, arguably the biggest fraud in India's
corporate history has reduced the chairman and
his company to a big zero.
The man who spent three decades
in IT services and built Satyam into India's fourth
largest IT services firm, was described as a visionary,
a global business leader and a thinker. Now, the
angry shareholders want him to be put behind bars.
Ramalinga Raju resigned as
the company chairman Wednesday after confessing
to a Rs.40 billion ($823 million) fraud that was
going on for years.
Even when crisis hit Satyam
following the management's aborted bid to acquire
Maytas Infra and Maytas Properties, the two infrastructure
companies owned by the promoters' family, Ramalinga
Raju's wellwishers launched a website to repose
faith in his leadership.
Having made a humble beginning
to rise to the dizzy heights of success and become
one of the richest Indians, Ramalinga Raju was
described as the pride of Andhra Pradesh and the
pride of Telugus.
He was born to a farmer B.
Satyanarayana Raju in Garagaparru village in West
Godavari district of coastal Andhra Pradesh Sep
16, 1954. Satyanarayana Raju moved to Hyderabad
in the 1960s.
Ramalinga Raju did his B.Com
from Andhra Loyola College in Vijayawada and went
to the US in 1975 for MBA degree from Ohio University.
He is also an alumnus of Harvard Business School.
He first ventured into construction
and textiles business before moving over to IT.
He founded Satyam in 1987
and was so influenced by his father that he named
the company after him. It was a humble beginning
for Satyam with only 20 employees. Satyam Computer
Services Ltd was incorporated in 1989 and it went
public in 1992.
Satyam later became one of
the earliest companies to get a dedicated data
link for offshore development.
Through his managerial skills
and quality leadership, Ramalinga Raju built Satyam
into a multinational company and bagged several
key contracts, especially from the US.
Satyam began trading on New
York Stock Exchange in 2001. With each passing
year, Satyam strengthened its position and extended
its operations to various locations.
Ramalinga Raju's foray into
corporate data and internet services too was path
breaking. He founded Satyam Infoway or Sify and
listed it on Nasdaq with great success. The business
process outsourcing (BPO) wing of Satyam also
made a remarkable beginning.
The company, whose revenues
crossed $2 billion in 2007-08, became the first
Indian company to list its American Depository
Shares (ADS) on Euronext, which is one single
cross-border trading platform of NYSE Euronext
A soft-spoken Ramalinga Raju
received several awards during his career, including
Ernst & Young entrepreneur of the years 1999
and 2007, Andhra Pradesh Academy of Sciences medal
1999, Dataquest IT man of the year 2000, CNBC
Asian Business leader - corporate citizen of the
year award 2002, Hyderabad Management Association
life time achievement award 2006, and honorary
doctorate by Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University
He was elected to several
organisations, including the National Association
of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom),
the apex forum of the Indian IT industry.
Ramalinga Raju, married to
Nandini, has two sons and a daughter. His sons
Teja B. Raju and Rama B. Raju are running Maytas
Infrastructure and Maytas Properties.
The man who was once described
as pride of Telugus, is today the target of their
"Ramalinga Raju was
a hero till the last quarter of 2008 but today
he is a zero. I was one of his biggest fans but
today I am very upset," said Harish Chandra
Prasad, vice-chairman of the Confederation of
Indian Industry, Andhra Pradesh.