Melissa Henderson first met Venkatesh “VR” Roddam over tea at New York’s Palace Hotel. Based in Hyderabad, India, VR travelled frequently to the United States. At the time, VR was exploring a career change, but he wasn’t having much luck with traditional retained search. He felt that Melissa was someone he could trust and he appreciated her open mind and fresh ideas.
A few months later, VR called up Melissa with a proposal. “Can you make the search process work for me? Can you reverse engineer the process so that I become your client, I pay your fee and you make my dream position a reality?”
Melissa had already been thinking about a new model for executive search. The traditional format heavily favored the hiring companies, leaving executives with little clout in the process. Now the perfect opportunity had emerged to test drive a new paradigm. Summit’s executive agent service was born. And VR became the firm’s first client.
A Problem of Perceptions
VR’s situation presented immediate challenges. He was a former CEO of Nipuna, the business processing outsourcing arm of India’s Satyam Computer Services, before it collapsed under the weight of a recent accounting scandal. In the Indian press, Satyam’s demise was compared to Enron, the Texas-based energy giant whose corruption scandal led to financial reform in the US. As VR made plans to move to the US, where his only child was planning to go to college, he had to overcome perceptions that he was somehow involved with Satyam’s problems.
Melissa and her team immediately developed a plan to clear the misguided negative perceptions. They conducted research into VR’s past and conducted a series of diagnostics on his leadership style and personal traits. The Summit team concluded that the best way to clear VR’s name was to address people’s questions directly. They were able to find many industry experts who spoke glowingly of VR’s reputation, ethics and independence from Satyam’s corporate culture. These powerful testimonials, combined with VR’s manifest leadership qualities, were effective in restoring his credibility.
A Perfect Resolution
Summit arranged successful interviews with a wide range of technology companies in the US and India. With multiple opportunities in play, VR decided to follow his entrepreneurial spirit and accepted funding to launch a new animation technology company based in Hyderabad. The company is associated with one of the most prominent film and television studios in India, Annapurna Studios.
VR’s company, VenSat Tech Services, is one of the most technologically advanced computer animation studios in India. VR has assembled a trusted management team, including many former Nipuna executives. Today, VR is living his dream, running a highly successful company with international clientele. He travels frequently to the US on business and to visit his daughter who continues her undergraduate studies in New York City.
“I found Summit Executive Resources possesses a rare combination of industry knowledge, intelligence, insight, tact and trust,” says VR. “Their genuine interest in both the professional and personal needs of their clients makes Summit a great resource and guide for people on both sides.”