Amitabh Prasad comes with two and a half decades of experience in alliances, partnerships, projects and supply chain management (SCM). He has worked across the IT and telecom industries in Indian, African and European markets for organisations like Bharti Airtel, British Telecom (BT), Ericsson, Tata, DuPont and Xerox. Currently, he is working as chief of strategic partnerships and SCM at Sterlite Power.
According to Prasad, the Indian telecom sector has made a decisive shift towards data during the past 18-24 months. “Data usage at the home user level has exploded, triggered by OTT players like YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime. Gaming platforms are further driving the adoption of expensive data plans by urban users. Interestingly, FTTH technology will take a giant leap as more people work from home,” he adds.
Among his most memorable assignments are two that are close to his heart. “Way back in 1998, when I joined Bharti Airtel, it was preparing to launch the first-ever fixed line telephone service as a private company in Madhya Pradesh. I was one of the first few employees in the procurement function, and despite limited experience in telecom technology procurement and SCM, I negotiated and concluded complex contracts with global giants like Siemens, Motorola and Lucent. There was hardly any internet support available at that time, hence I had to go through volumes of technical and commercial documents to learn and strategise.” His other interesting assignment was with BT in 2005 when he helped the company set up its Global Procurement Center in India. “I ran the assignment in pure start-up mode, right from selecting an office location, hiring employees, transitioning people and processes from global locations to the overall management of the centre. All this was closed within 12-18 months,” he says. Later, when BT set up similar centres in China and Hungary, he mentored the teams to get them off the ground.
As for his leadership style, Prasad believes in keeping people together, and earning trust and respect at all levels of the organisation to get things done. An engineer from BIT Sindri, he holds an MBA degree from FMS, and a management diploma from the Kellogg School of Management.
When not at work, he loves reading contemporary history, playing golf and travelling. Prasad belongs to a small town in North Bihar, where he studied till high school before moving out for higher technical education. His wife Anudita is a social entrepreneur. They have two sons – Aditya, an engineering graduate, set to begin a professional career, and Adarsh, who is preparing for university admissions.