At the end of 2015, Vivek Gupta was vacationing in Key West with his family when he got a phone call that changed the direction of his career. It was Sunil Wadhwani, Mastech co-chairman, looking for a new CEO.
Gupta says when someone so well respected in the IT industry wants to speak with you, you don’t say no.
Gupta had spent his professional life at Zensar Technologies, working in Asia, Europe and the U.S. For more than 30 years, he’d filled various roles at the Indian software and services company, which operates in more than 18 countries.
Over that time, Gupta had come across many people who worked for Mastech, and he knew the respect the brand generates. But his interest was piqued by the challenge being offered.
“The talk was about taking the company on a different journey, a transformation journey,” he says.
Not only would he be part of a well-respected company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, he’d have the opportunity to transform the business as the president and CEO.
So in March 2016, Gupta took his second job.
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Mastech was started in 1986 by Wadhwani and Ashok Trivedi, who are now co-chairmen. They evolved the startup IT staffing firm into an industry powerhouse.
By 2000, the company was doing project work as well as staffing. After an IPO, Mastech changed its name to IGATE Corp.; in 2008, the company split, with the staffing piece taken out of IGATE and returned to the name Mastech. IGATE was sold for more than $4 billion in July 2015.
Six months later, Gupta got the call.
Mastech wasn’t in trouble. It was still growing faster than average for the industry.
“It was not even coasting along. It was doing decently,” Gupta says. “My job was to see how I could get this company to grow better than that and also transform. It’s like re-engineering a plane while it is flying.”
Trivedi, Wadhwani and the board wanted Mastech to become more, but they left the strategy up to Gupta.
“That broad canvas interested me even more because I already had lots of ideas in my head, which I had been toying with for the last few years, and I was able to put all of them into the task at hand,” he says. “Within the first 60 days, I came up with the strategy for the transformation of the company to make it a digital transformation services company. I presented it to the board and the board loved it.”
While Gupta had worked in technology, he’d never been a part of an IT staffing business. His inexperience was helpful.