Tata Consultancy Services' CEO on running, writing, and e-reading
It’s often said that business is a marathon, not a sprint. Natarajan “Chandra” Chandrasekaran knows it can be both. In the three years since he became CEO and managing director of Tata Consultancy Services — an IT company and division of the Tata Group, India’s largest industrial conglomerate — annual revenue has jumped from $6 billion to $10.17 billion. TCS does business in 42 countries, only a few of which Chandrasekaran has yet to visit. And Chandrasekaran, 48, balances running the company with running marathons: Since 2008, he has completed six. His travel tips:
Find a run route
When I check into a hotel in a town I’m not familiar with, I ask the concierge for a recommended route for a 45-minute run. It clears my mind. And I cannot take calls. Two of my favorite places to run are Hyde Park in London and along the Charles River in Boston.
Plane time isn't social
I spend a lot of time on airplanes, usually sleeping, working, or reading. I do not talk much, and I do not watch movies. I travel with the Amazon Kindle Fire. Right now I am reading On China by Henry Kissinger and the Walter Isaacson biography of Steve Jobs.
Think before buying
My father taught me to be frugal. He had me write down everything I bought so I could reflect on its value. That stayed with me. I recently thought about going to a store in New York, but the taxi would’ve cost more than what I would have bought there, so I didn’t go.
The mighty pen
When I get home from a business trip, I send handwritten thank-you notes. On the road, I take notes in longhand. It’s personal, and it shows appreciation for people making time for me. I use a fountain pen — a Mont Blanc and a Waterman — and use blue ink, always.
New York, I love you
I come to America maybe 10 times a year. No matter where in the country I am, if I have a free weekend, I fly to New York. I love it there — the theater and the Museum of Natural History. I stay at the Pierre because, well, Tata owns it, but it’s also close to Central Park: a good place for a run.