A well known member of the telecom fraternity, Dinesh Verma was appointed managing director, India and SAARC, Juniper Networks, in November 2016. He joined the company after three decades with companies such as British Telecom (BT) Global Services, IBM, Cisco and Ericsson.
There are many things that Verma wants to do at Juniper but if he had to confine himself to just two, it would be these. First, gain the market relevance that is proportionate to the company’s respected brand as an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks. For the past two years, the company has been focusing on getting at least a 15 per cent market share. “Having put our strategy in place, now is when we will see the upswing. We are doing extremely well globally and want to replicate that in India,” he says. Second, Verma aims to create a line of succession. “By the time I leave, I want to have identified and nurtured at least a couple of possible successors who can continue the work rather than our having to look outside the company,” he says.
On being asked his views on Digital India, Verma says, “I absolutely believe in this programme. It’s going to be complex to work out and you have to have the right teams and strategy, but it is real. It’s not an empty slogan. Networking is the building block for every communication – for data flow, for audio, for video, for convergence. The basic crux of Digital India is that you connect and empower everybody. I see a lot of opportunities for us to play in this space.”
Verma and his wife Deepa, who teaches economics at Delhi University, have two children. Their daughter has just finished her Ph.D in drug discovery from Cambridge and their son has recently started his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins. Education is an area of interest to him. He and Deepa sponsor a few talented undergraduates who are not financially well placed.
Come the day he no longer does a full-time job, Verma wants to work in the field of education. “I’m passionate about it and plan to do some work in some capacity in education later in life,” he says.
Verma tries to keep weekends for himself and the family as far as possible, though this does not extend to switching his phone off. “I never switch it off. The phone is your life, your identity.” He loves the mountains and has pledged that he will make it to Mansarovar. “I believe it’s very serene. I want to see it, at least once in my life.”