A 1982 batch officer of the Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers, A. Seshagiri Rao is the chairman and managing director (CMD) of Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL). His career spanned pretty much every facet of construction and operations. He commissioned several signalling and telecom projects across South Central Railway and in all divisions up to Pune.
Rao joined Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited as a research and development engineer in 1981, but felt that he was not making full use of his faculties and so switched to the railway services. Later, after being posted to the headquarters in a routine job, Rao moved to RailTel, which, at that time, was in the embryonic phase and posed a lot of challenges.
In terms of assignments, single-handedly managing the southern zone of RailTel in 2002 was one of his most memorable assignments. He was solely responsible for setting up RailTel’s southern zone in 2002, and by 2011, he had brought it to a turnover of Rs 1 billion. In addition, Rao was responsible for commissioning of the data centre in the southern region, which was one of the earliest ones in the region.
In 2012, Rao was promoted to director, marketing and planning, RailTel. During his tenure, the turnover almost tripled, leading the company towards becoming a total system integrator from a simple bandwidth provider. Having successfully worked in RailTel, at both the zonal and corporate offices, he was looking for another challenging opportunity when TCIL offered him the post of CMD. “As we head towards a data-centric future, telecom is destined to throw up new opportunities and challenges. As most of TCIL’s business comes from telecom projects, the growth of the industry will drive growth and new project volumes for the company,” he says.
Rao does not subscribe to any one style of management. He feels that situations and teams are so fluid that one particular way of functioning may prove to be inappropriate and ineffective. Agility and flexibility are more important.
He is an electronics and communications engineering graduate from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Andhra Pradesh. Rao’s day starts at 5 a.m. with a morning walk, a visit to the temple, the newspapers and then the office. At the end of a packed day, he unwinds by watching TV and reading magazines. Rao and his wife have two children who are working in the US.