Global Indian | Narayan Ramamoorthy

Narayan Ramamoorthy: From computer whiz to global business leader

Written by: Ranjani Rajendra

Name: Narayan Ramamoorthy | Designation: Chief Revenue Officer | Company: Global PayEX | Place: Dubai

(August 19, 2023) “Sports are very important to me. An active sports life not only promotes good health, it teaches you to play with people, helps imbibe an attitude to win, teaches you the humility of loss, helps you hone a competitive spirit, and encourages you to think differently,” says Narayan Ramamoorthy, or Naru as he is popularly known. Working as the chief revenue officer in Global PayEX’s Dubai office, Naru makes it a point to play sports at least four times a week, regardless of how hectic his schedule might be. Despite his height of 5 feet 3 inches amidst teams of six-footers, he owns the basketball court.

It is these lessons that drive him to excel in life as well. With a never say never attitude, Naru loves keeping himself busy and hates predictability. A Palakkad Iyer born and raised in Mumbai’s Chembur area to a professor father and a banker mother, Naru fell in love with computers and coding when he was in class 8. “Around that time my father had brought home a computer and that was the beginning of my love for all things technology. My father, who was a professor of computer science and a mathematician, taught me the basics. Soon though, I was coding using MS DOS and JW Basic and solving his problems,” he recalls.

Global Indian | Narayan Ramamoorthy

Narayan Ramamoorthy, Chief Revenue Officer, Global PayEX, Dubai

This set him on the path to building a career in technology. “My parents wanted me to become a doctor since nobody in the family was one. However, my love for computers was strong and I was clear on it. I joined VJTI, one of the top engineering colleges in Mumbai at the time, for a course in Computer Science engineering, and was awarded best outgoing student in the department,” he says, adding, “Coincidentally, my father had taught here before.” As he neared his graduation, the question of “What next” loomed large. Should he opt for a Masters in the US or go to one of the IIMs for an MBA?

It was around this time that Naru lost both his parents within a span of two years. Not one to let life and its tragedies stop him in his tracks, Naru persevered and wrote both the GRE and CAT exams. He got accepted into IIM Calcutta and decided to head down the MBA route. “Those were the best two years of my life. It was a good mix of fun and learning; some of the sharpest minds come from the IIMs and it accelerates the way one thinks,” he says. He landed his first job while still at IIM. “It was a pre-placement offer in year 2 of MBA; I was able to pay my second year fees.”

As he headed back to Mumbai with the job, Naru found his next calling with MphasiS, a startup. “Joining MphasiS within a year of getting a job with P&G was a leap of faith. I simply followed my gut; the founders and their vision appealed to me. In hindsight, it was a smart decision. I worked as a business analyst and also got involved in sales because I enjoyed it. Within a couple of years I went to Europe as a business development manager and from there to London to set up the MphasiS office there.” While in Amsterdam, Naru handled an account for the company that grew from Euro 50,000 to Euro 5 million. It was also here that Naru understood the true meaning of work-life balance. “However, all that free time didn’t sit well with me. Which is when I moved to London to set up the office there. It was an invaluable experience. I was building deals on the back of relationships and learning on the go.”

Global Indian | Narayan Ramamoorthy

He eventually moved back to India and went on to work with companies such as Thomson Reuters, Wipro, and Tesco before starting up. “At Wipro I had worked with people like PK Kurien and with Tesco was part of the leadership team. When I branched out on my own I wanted to see if I could scale up. It was a very educational and humbling experience,” says the Global Indian, who then joined Sutherland.

In 2018, he went to Dubai on a Careem project through Sutherland and eventually joined Global PayEX as global head of business development. “Dubai has all the flavour and touchpoints of India and was close enough as well,” says this global business leader, who finds the pull of India incredible. “Its spirituality, chaos, ability to change, and the opportunities it presents are a major draw. I have worked across US, UK, China, Europe, Malaysia, UAE, and India; and I can say that this is the best time to create in India. The government is supportive, capital is not a challenge, and opportunities abound. Career-wise it’s a great time to be in India as it has more to offer now. The only con I’d say is the fact that there’s no respect for a person’s time,” he says.

Global Indian | Narayan Ramamoorthy

A typical day for Naru is usually without structure. He supports markets in Asia, India, and the US and works according to the calls he has scheduled. “It works in my favour, since I don’t like patterns. Even my non-work life is pretty active. I travel extensively, play sports like basketball and tennis, and I’m a distance runner. In fact, my daughter and I have climbed Mt Kilimanjaro. We love active holidays. I also love to unwind over movies and make sure I read for at least 30 minutes a day: business reading, autobiographies, Indian mythology, and spirituality.”

As he juggles his varied interests and drives to excel, Naru says that it is his desire to try new things and challenge himself that carries him through. His love for India also has him visiting the country every couple of months. “My team is based in Mumbai and India is a very important market for us. Besides, I am a patriot, very old school. Just the air here and the spirituality are uplifting. I don’t see that in the UAE or US for instance,” he smiles.

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