Avatar photo

Peter Beckingham

Former governor in Turks and Caicos Islands

Part of UK in India

12th August 2011

An IT conglomerate sharing space with bats and butterflies

In Mumbai, a city of about 18 million heaving with offices, accommodation and traffic, you don’t expect to find a sanctuary of calm less than 15 minutes from the international airport. But on a recent visit to call on the Global Chief Executive of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Mr Chandrasekharan (Chandra), that is precisely what I discovered.

Sarosh Villa, TCS MumbaiThe group is putting up a new complex on a 24 acre site to house a mere 2000 of the 200,000 it employs globally. Those lucky enough to secure a job at the site, Banyan Park, which will start opening early next year, will find no less than 50 or so species of butterfly still living in the vicinity, and various types of enormous bats and flying foxes hanging from 400 year old trees. TCS have managed to conserve a good deal of the atmosphere of this parkland site, which was once the base for a UK pharmaceutical company with links to the West London suburb of Teddington.

You could argue that Banyan Park says something about the transformation in the business relationship between the UK and India. While the pharmaceutical company was purchased by the Tata conglomerate in the 1950s, it was only in the next decade that TCS was founded. Now the IT and outsourcing company employs around 5000 staff in the UK, which accounts for some 25 per cent of its turnover.

Mr. Chandra is quietly confident that TCS’s strong presence in Britain – with its London HQ symbolising another shift in business, in the shell of the former National Coal Board offices – is set to continue. It has a European “Solution Centre” in Peterborough, and just this month launched a major project with the British Government for work on national pensions. Unlike some of its competitors, although it brings in to the UK a substantial number of temporary skilled workers, TCS is at pains to underline that it is not primarily outsourcing jobs, but rather providing opportunities for skilled employment in the UK and its other major overseas markets.

I would be surprised if many of its UK sites can boast the number of butterflies or bats, the charm of some of the restored guest houses or the funky architecture of its new building (open roofs which will allow for some dramatic waterscapes during the monsoon) in Mumbai. But Mr Chandra doesn’t intend to hang around the site – after competing in New York, Stockholm and other cities he is keen to do the London Marathon next year.

About Peter Beckingham

Peter was the Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands from 2013 to 2016. Before this, he was British Deputy High Commissioner to India, based in Mumbai, the commercial capital,…

Peter was the Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands from
2013 to 2016. Before this, he was British Deputy High Commissioner to India, based in Mumbai, the commercial capital, where he had a responsibility for developing UK-India trade and investment. His earlier appointments have
included Consul-General and Director-General of Trade and Investment in
Sydney, and British Ambassador to the Philippines, where he initiated
the UK Government’s involvement in a peace process with the Philippine
Government and Muslim rebel groups.
Peter is married to Jill, a teacher of special needs, and they have
two grown up children. His outside interests include cricket, golf and