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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

May - 2006 - issue > Leadership

Sundi's Adaption Theory

Harish Revanna
Monday, May 1, 2006
Harish Revanna
At Adaptec, a twenty-five year old storage company (NASD: ADPT, market cap $ 648.86 million), there is burning desire to bring itself back to glory—it reached $5 billion market cap in 2000 just to plummet after the bust. And CEO Sundaresh Subramanian, dubbed Sundi, is currently holding the baton to drive the company towards success. Interestingly, the last time he held a different baton at Adaptec, as a general manager of marketing, he took the company from $90 million to $500 million. Only to quit later for the market-gluttonous attitude his company put up in its hey days, leading to defocus its core competency.

On his first day at work, Act II, Sundi-as-a-CEO hammered out a three-pronged strategy. “I want to focus, grow and deliver value,” he emphasized. In his inaugural speech, he appalled his employees asking everyone to have a trip for Adaptec’s success. He said: “We want people who are on a trip.” Before the pun hit the ceiling, the Wharton graduate expanded the acronym as trust, respect, integrity and passion. One distinct thing about Sundi is his Sundi-isms. He coins, spells, acronomises and uses his words differently (see as you read).

Often his talks are bustling with business jargons like internal focus, accountability, execution, managing supply chain, and engaging product development to name a few. Sundi’s focus is primarily to manage a right mix of OEM and channel partners for his business to get an optimum portfolio.

It’s hardly a year since he took up the mantle; Sundi has already divested the IBM INT, systems and manufacturing businesses of Adaptec calling them non-core. And is hell-bent on building his core business of RAID Controllers. Right now, he’s blowing winds of change to bring Adaptec back to profitability. He tells, “Profitability brings shareholders-value. Value comes from growth. And growth at present means strengthening our core areas with large investments.”

Sundi grew up in a middleclass family in Kolkata, India. As he slogged through India’s premier technology institute, IIT, he learnt that growing is a two way process of honing your innate talents while you are acquiring newer interests and skills. Incidentally, that’s exactly how he’s running Adaptec today: honing RAID Control technology with the strong built-up network of OEMs and channel partners, while conceiving value around storage and data protection. “We can hone by providing excellent support in quality, reliability, compatibility and interoperability of our products to our partners and OEMs,” he says, “while early-to-market products are often a brainwave of right partner ecosystem coupled with newer technologies surrounding chip and OS vendors.”

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