Pic.: Bhushan Thakkar
Like everyone else, here in India, I, too, am very elated by what Satya Nadella has achieved on a global scene, today. He grew up in Hyderabad, where he did his schooling; did engineering from Manipal… and, like most of us do, he, too, migrated to the US to complete his M.S. and M.B.A…
I am told, that Nadella worked for about 22 years at Microsoft… which means, he literally spent his entire working life out there… rose from the ordinary ranks to become Executive Vice-President of the company (Microsoft’s Cloud & Enterprise group)), and, now, when the time came to crown the CEO, the Board of software giant chose ‘our boy’ – Satya Nadella!
Frankly, it feels as though they have crowned me! I am a proud man, today. A proud Indian!
Today’s young-ones might not have heard about a man by the name ‘Lee Iacocca’. That’s in spite of their fascination with fine cars. So, let me tell today’s young-ones, that when I had migrated to Mumbai, in early 80’s, this man Lee Iacocca had just published his autobiography. And, his story had left me, and millions of people world over, gut-wrenched!
Lee Iacocca was an Italian. Just as Nadella was fascinated with computing and electronics, Iacocca was obsessed with cars – anything and everything about them. So, after migrating to the US, the only thing he did was work at Ford Motors… And, like Nadella, Iacocca rose to become the President of Ford Motor Company. That is, about 32 years in the company before he remained as its President for 8 more years!
Lee Iacocca became very famous, very rich, and very influential as the President of Ford Motors… He stood next only to the Chairman of the company, Henry Ford – 2 (legendary founder’s son)…
Then, on a stormy day, Henry Ford – 2 fired his charismatic President! In one nasty stroke of destiny, Lee Iaccoca was knocked down from the highest peak to the lowest pit!
Well, I want today’s young-ones to read about Iacocca not for his rise and fall at Ford Motors. I want them to know what happened after the humiliating fall from pinnacle …
I am cutting the long story short: Chrysler Corporation, then the third largest automobile company in America, was on the verge of bankruptcy… Once a great organization, Chrysler was, now, in a total financial mess and was about to go down the deep sea. Strangely, Lee Iacocca’s fall had coincided with Chrysler’s fall… and, imagines what an insane idea it could be when Chrysler’s Board approached Iacocca to save their sinking ship!
I want today’s young-ones to read Lee Iacocca’s autobiography precisely for this part of the story: how he took his sweet revenge on Henry Ford - 2 by embarking upon the mission-impossible – saving Chrysler from sinking!
It’s one of the most gut-wrenching stories on corporate world I have ever read… I am sure, Iacocca’s style of story-telling would appeal our young-ones as it did to us when we were young…
Satya Nadella has just ascended to the throne, at Microsoft. There are huge challenges ahead for him, too… It won’t be a joyride, my young-friends… Let’s wish him well. Let’s pray…
Lee Iacocca reminds us:“Boys, there ain't no free lunches in this country. And don't go spending your whole life commiserating that you got the raw deals. You've got to say, I think that if I keep working at this and want it bad enough I can have it. It's called perseverance.”
May God give loads of strength to our own boy - Satya Nadella.
Pic.: Bhushan Thakkar