Quantity does matter, but not when it comes to age, for age is not a definer of expertise and maturity. And if you don't believe in it, then you need to meet Ash Bhardwaj, President Flextronics International (Asia Pacific). At 37, Ash became the youngest person to head the Flextronics, the Singapore-based contract electronics manufacturer. But then that is Ash Bhardwaj for you - always a high achiever. Born in India, Ash earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Thapar Institute of Engineering & Technology. He then went to do his MBA from the Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond. And it was not long back when in 1988 he joined Flextronics.
From the United States, he was sent to South China in 1994 and oversaw the implementation of Flextronics' highly successful manufacturing operations in Xixiang, Shenzhen and Doumen Industrial Park, Zhuhai. He was soon promoted to Vice-President responsible for Flextronics China operations. In 1999, Bhardwaj became the President of Flextronics Asia-Pacific. Under his dynamic leadership, Flextronics' presence in Asia Pacific has grown further to North China, Japan and India, as well as in Singapore and Malaysia. Few people know that Ash was instrumental in instituting two divestiture acquisitions-Fico Plastics in 1999 and Lixin Plastics, a Singapore public listed plastics injection moulding manufacturer in 2000. He further helped in the acquisitions of two Singapore public listed Electronics Manufacturing Services providers, JIT Electronics and NatSteel Broadway in 2000 and 2002 respectively.
Not only this, Ash also played a crucial role in Flextronics' expansion strategy in Japan by acquiring Casio's plants in Aichi, Japan and Shah Alam, Malaysia, in 2002. But perhaps Bhardwaj's biggest achievement has been the Flextronics' buyout of Hughes Software Systems, India, in 2004 through the acquisition of 55 percent stake that was held by Rupert Murdoch. At $226 million, it was then the biggest acquisition deal in the Indian IT sector. Why did Flextronics go for such a huge acquisition deal? According to Bhardwaj, the acquisition of Hughes Software would make Flextronics perhaps the only fully integrated solutions provider in the world.
"Electronics companies typically outsource component manufacturing, assembly services and design services and logistics. We had expertise in all these but were lacking on the software side. The acquisition of HSS has completed our range of offerings and will take us to the next level," he once said. Not stopping short of achieving miracles, Ash further issued a note of optimism when he said "There will be a lot of action in the coming months." And true, as most of his market forecasts are, he has proved he knows the IT market as back of his hand - a hallmark of a great strategist indeed!