For Rajesh Rao, there has never been a dull moment in his 30-year-long professional journey. “Execution and scaling growth have been the two topics that are always on my mind and I firmly believe that every challenge also poses an opportunity.”
Rao started his career in the early 1990s as a staff engineer in Hewlett-Packard India’s communications R&D segment. Later, he was responsible for the sales of complex communications solutions and service assurance systems.
He joined Agilent in 2000 and moved with his family to Malaysia to lead and transform the company’s consulting and services business. He led the company’s operations for the Southeast Asia subregion and the Asia-Pacific region and finally, the global entity for its professional services and consulting business. With the acquisition of Agilent’s communications test business by JDSU (now Viavi) in 2009, his role for the region expanded to lead the South Asia Pacific and Asia-Pacific regions.
He is currently regional vice-president, Asia Pacific & Japan, at Viavi, and is responsible for orchestrating the company’s network and service enablement business in the region.
Rao is extremely bullish on the sector’s growth prospects. “Digital transformation is fuelling growth for several other markets, such as data centres, subsea cables, onboard communication systems on aircraft, and on-ground communication systems including software-defined radios. 5G is adding massive scale to networks while also leading to unparalleled complexity. All these solutions need to be tested adequately, in the labs as well as in the field. Viavi has been a pioneer in this industry for close to 100 years,” he notes.
Rao likes to follow an open-door policy with his team members. “I am very approachable. I strive to be an enabler for my team to make things happen. Of course, everyone is wired differently, so I need to keep reminding myself about the mantra – different strokes for different folks.”
A graduate in electronics and telecommunications, Rao has also completed a management programme at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Back in the day, he was extremely passionate about photography and cycling, but these have taken a back seat now as work takes up most of his time. He, however, makes time to meditate and exercise regularly. Weekends are reserved for family – his wife Reena, their daughters Nishka and Aarna, and “two caring dogs, who always snuggle up with us, no matter the mood”, he says.