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CIO Of the Fortnight

 

I was born on December 29th, 1958 in Ludhiana, Punjab. Lovely memories of childhood, spent in various parts of the country as my father was a banker and due to his official transfers, we saw many places across the country. We used to play football, badminton, marbles, hockey and table tennis with friends, and in the family – ludo, snakes and ladders, and word building. My father encouraged me to read and write in English at an early stage, as we used to be in remote places and it was very important to develop linguistic skills, so I used to read Newspapers like The Statesman, Blitz etc. and magazines like The Readers Digest, Life, Falcon, Soviet Land, The Illustrated Weekly etc. and developed my skills in reading and writing. I also used to collect Stamps and Coins.

I studied in St. Patrick's school in Secunderabad (AP) till the junior classes, and then my father was posted in Kapurthala (Punjab). Here, I studied in Sainik School from class V onwards. This was a boarding school and life was very disciplined, with classes during the day and extra curricular activities / sports in the evening. Here, I learnt swimming, boxing, horse riding, boating etc. and we had a wonderful library where we had hundreds of books. The school itself was in a huge area, housed in the erstwhile Maharaja's Palace. Military Training was compulsory.

I studied in Hindu College, Delhi University, and did my B.Sc.(Hons.) and M.Sc.(Hons) in Chemistry from there. During College, I joined NCC and was the Senior Under Officer of 1 Delhi Armored Squadron. Attended many camps such as Leadership, Trekking etc. and did Regular Army Attachment with 68 Armored Regiment. This was very good and taught me to be 'an officer and a gentleman', besides self discipline and leadership. In University, I was a member of The Chemical Society and one of the proudest moments was being awarded the First Prize for Inter Deptt. Science Paper Reading Contest by Mrs. Kiran Bedi.

My father was a banker and a self made man, and he ingrained values of integrity, honesty, self discipline and hard work. A self made man, he always encouraged us to stand on our own feet and be independent. I took up my first job with NIIT and had the privilege of being groomed by Mr. R.S. Pawar. From there onwards, I moved up and worked very hard to build my career and today, my success is due to the mentors that I had and the grooming and opportunity to grow, that they gave me.

Currently, I am working as the Group CIO for JSL Limited, the flagship of the highly respected OP Jindal Group, a $12 billion conglomerate in Steel and now, India's largest private sector steel producer. I am responsible for Information Technology, Information Security, Information Strategy and IT Governance, on a Group Wide basis, globally.

In 2008, I had the honor of being recognized as one of the Top 50 CIOs in India by Dataquest and awarded the prestigious CIO 100 Award twice by IDG Media and CIO magazine. I was also a member of the jury for selecting the DQ IT Awards for the Year 2008. I am invited as a Speaker for Keynotes as well as Panel Discussions for events conducted by CIOL, The CTO Forum, CIO and Naseba. I also have the privilege of being on the Advisory Board of CIO KLUB, The CTO Forum, The CIO Institute, TDWI, ARC – MIT Forum & CIO Association of India, and am a member of the CIO Leadership Council and CIO Leadership Network.

I studied in Hindu College, Delhi University, and did my B.Sc.(Hons.) and M.Sc.(Hons) in Chemistry from there. During College, I joined NCC and was the Senior Under Officer of 1 Delhi Armored Squadron. Attended many camps such as Leadership, Trekking etc. and did Regular Army Attachment with 68 Armored Regiment. This was very good and taught me to be 'an officer and a gentleman', besides self discipline and leadership. In University, I was a member of The Chemical Society and one of the proudest moments was being awarded the First Prize for Inter Deptt. Science Paper Reading Contest by Mrs. Kiran Bedi.

We are two brothers and two sisters, my wife is a home maker and my two daughters are in their MBA (Final) and English (Hons) respectively.

I like reading, watching films, writing, travelling and photography. When time permitted, I used to love archery and rifle shooting as well.

Some of my favorite authors are – Mickey Spillane, James Hadley Chase, Ian Fleming, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Perry Mason, Harold Robbins, Leon Uris, Alistair Maclean, Arthur Hailey, Sidney Sheldon, Daniel Steele, Ayn Rand etc. In fact, I read most of their books during my school and whatever was left, lapped them up during college and the early days of my career. Now, I get less time to read but do carry a book with me whenever I am travelling.

We spend our vacations together, at least one good holiday every year. This year, we've just come back from a leisure trip to Pondicherry. Otherwise, I've travelled globally, US, Europe, Asia – in fact most of the places. My favorite destinations are Vienna, Paris, Bavaria, Wales, Scotland, Ireland.

Some of my favorite actors are – Richard Burton, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig, Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Al Pacino, Clint Eastwood, and Sean Connerry.

Some of my favorite singers are – Connie Francis, Jim Reeves, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Roberta Flack, Demis Roussos.

I have succeeded in life as per the 'success dashboard' of many aspirants, but there is much more meaning to life than only professional growth. My experiences in life have taught me the virtues of 'learning, giving and forgiving' and so has the teaching of my spiritual mentor. I remember a saying - "If you are able to connect to HIM, you may be alone but never lonely". I try to be a good human being first, and then the professional. I enjoy grooming and mentoring people and most of them are now occupying very good positions in the industry, which is very self satisfying. I would like to help less privileged people with my knowledge and experience, which would give me more satisfaction than any worldly or material pleasures.

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