A salesman who became CEO – The Journey of a Chartered Accountant 1


Somebody has rightly said, “The starting point of all achievement is desire.” It’s desire which motivates us to do extraordinary things. This article is the story of an ordinary salesman who had big dreams which pushed him forward to become the CEO of a company. We are talking about Keshav R. Murugesh, a Chartered Accountant by qualification.

He is presently the group CEO of WNS Global Services, a NYSE listed company.

chartered accountant

( Image Courtesy: www.nasscom.in )

Becoming a Chartered Accountant

Keshav R. Murugesh was born in Chennai to M.K Murugesh and Arati Murugesh in 1963. His parents were hardcore cricket enthusiasts. While his father represented Madras in the Ranji Trophies, his mother on the other hand, was the first team manager of Indian Women Cricket team. After completing BCom, Keshav took up an assignment of selling generator sets. He was also studying to become a Chartered Accountant. However, accounting and taxation never interested Keshav. After a few years of hard work, he became a Chartered Accountant.




“My journey started long back. I sold TVs, generator sets. I was in the shipping, clearing and forwarding business along with which I studied and achieved to become a Chartered Accountant. But interestingly, I had no interest in either accounting, taxation or any of those areas. And I was actually a pretty good businessman. I never read the CA magazine,” says Keshav.

chartered accountant

Career in ITC

One day, while Keshav’s mother was flipping through the pages of a CA magazine she noticed an employment notification of ITC. She told him to apply for that job. Keshav, who was helping his father in his business, was reluctant to take up any job at that time. However, he applied. That turned out to be the best decision in his life. “I was among 12 from across India to qualify for the final round of interview. At the end of 2-day grueling sessions, I was the only one selected,” says Keshav.

“My last interview with the then CFO of ITC is hilarious. The first question he asked was, “In Vizag, there is a famous hotel-Dolphin. Tell me Keshav as you are a man of numbers; how many bricks and mortars were used to make that hotel?” I felt a little embarrassed with this strange question and without wasting my time, I replied – Nine lakh, nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety one. The CFO was stunned for a moment. He got irritated and asked me how do I know this? I told him that this was again a strange answer befitting the strange question asked by him. He did not waste his time asking questions anymore; he told me, “You are selected, congratulations!””

Keshav joined in the Internal Audit department in ITC Limited. It was 1989. Gradually he gained exposure by working in other vital departments of the company. Keshav learned how a business functions. He quickly rose to the position of Vice President (Finance) of the company.

Syntel turnaround and present days

In 2002, Keshav joined Syntel as its CFO. The company was struggling to achieve growth because of a wrong business model and sales approach. After taking charge, Keshav took few policy decisions which proved beneficial. The company underwent vast reformation in almost all its departments. Syntel, which was already a major player in the IT space at that time soon started witnessing significant growth. Keshav R. Murugesh was rewarded soon and was promoted to the role of COO in 2004. He became the CEO of the company in 2009.

Keshav R. Murugesh is presently heading WNS Global Services as its CEO since 2010.

chartered accountant

( Image Courtesy: WNS Global Services Website)

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