Building Personal Connections and Fostering Trust are the Cornerstone for Leadership

Abhijit Chakravarty, SVP of Core Networks & Security Operations at HDFC Bank, shares his journey from electronic communication to leading digital transformation, reflecting the progress of the IT industry.

As we mark the 25th anniversary of CIO&Leader, we’re delighted to launch a special series titled “Tech Guru,” designed to celebrate the significant milestones achieved by legendary CIOs over the last quarter-century. This series is a tribute to the visionary leaders who have shaped the IT landscape with their innovative thinking and strategic leadership.

Here are the excerpts from our recent interaction with Abhijit Chakravarty, whose distinguished tenure as the Senior Vice President of Core Networks & Security Operations of HDFC Bank has been characterized by remarkable achievements and groundbreaking innovations. Our conversation explored the key milestones of his career, the challenges he’s overcome, and the leadership philosophies that have profoundly influenced the evolution of the IT landscape.

The journey of a tech visionary

Abhijit’s career spans an impressive 29 years, beginning when emails and faxes were considered groundbreaking technologies. Reflecting on his early days, he notes, “It’s been a remarkable journey, from supporting electronic fax systems to leading network and security at HDFC Bank. The evolution from dial-up connections to today’s sophisticated networks illustrates the transformative power of connectivity.”

“Connectivity has always fascinated me, from the days of dial-up to today’s complex networks. It’s about bringing people and information closer, seamlessly.”- Abhijit Chakravarty.

Navigating challenges with customer-centric solutions

A significant challenge in Abhijit’s career has been understanding and catering to diverse customer needs. Drawing on his experiences at Airtel, he highlights the importance of customizing solutions to fit various requirements. “Identifying and catering to those unique needs was both a challenge and a learning curve. It’s like making parathas; not everyone prefers the same filling.”

“Every customer’s needs are unique, much like their preference for parathas. Tailoring our solutions to meet those needs has been key to our success.” – Abhijit. 

Building strategic partnerships

When it comes to vendor management, Abhijit emphasizes the distinction between vendors and partners. “For long-term technology strategies, you need a partner who’s willing to invest in your success,” he explains. This approach ensures shared commitment and alignment with business outcomes, fostering long-term strategic partnerships.

Proudest achievements in IT leadership

Among his proudest achievements, Abhijit cites the large-scale implementation of SD-WAN at Axis Bank and the early adoption of collaboration technologies. These initiatives set new standards within the banking industry and prepared HDFC Bank for digital transformation challenges, especially evident during the pandemic.

 Leading high-performing IT teams

“Personal connection and trust are paramount,” Abhijit states, discussing his philosophy on team leadership. Knowing each team member’s aspirations and challenges helps build a cohesive unit, motivating them to deliver without micromanaging every step.

“Trust and personal connection form the cornerstone of a high-performing team. It’s about empowering each member while steering them towards our common goals.” – Abhijit.

The fascination with space technology

When asked about the technological advancements that have amazed him the most, Abhijit expresses his admiration for space technology. “The level of accuracy and collaboration needed is a testament to human ingenuity and the boundless possibilities of technology,” he marvels, showcasing his appreciation for the field’s complexity and innovation.

Abhijit Chakravarty’s insights from our conversation highlight the dynamic nature of technology and the visionary leaders who steer its evolution. His journey from the early days of electronic communication to spearheading digital transformation efforts at HDFC Bank is a testament to the innovative spirit that drives the IT industry forward. As we celebrate the past 25 years of leadership, we also look forward to the future innovations that leaders like Abhijit will bring to the IT landscape.

Listen to Abhijit Chakravarty, SVP of Core Networks & Security Operations at HDFC Bank, about his journey. 

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