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Fairfax-controlled Quess Corp taps McKinsey exec as group CEO-designate
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Quess Corp Ltd, a business services provider controlled by Canadian billionaire Prem Watsa’s Fairfax group, has appointed a former McKinsey & Company employee as an executive director and group chief executive officer-designate, with effect from next month.

Suraj Moraje will succeed current group CEO Subrata Nag upon the latter’s retirement next year. The company’s board will oversee the leadership transition and Moraje will work with Nag during the period, Quess said in a statement.

Ajit Abraham Isaac, chairman and managing director at Quess Corp, said Moraje would initially focus on the company’s strategic consolidation initiatives and technology-led transformation, while continuing to grow operating cash flow.

Isaac said the firm will benefit from Moraje’s business-building record at McKinsey, including his experience with long-term results-focussed orientation at other organisations.

Separately, Moraje said Quess was a corporation that focussed on its commitment to long-term shareholder value, and that had an unmatched portfolio of businesses that each make associates’ lives better.

An alumnus of IIM-Ahmedabad, Moraje was a leader at Asia technology, media and telecom (TMT) business during his 20-year stint at McKinsey. He has counselled several organisations on strategic and operational issues in sectors including TMT, financial services, utilities and consumer.

At McKinsey, his roles also included setting up its Africa TMT practice, and functioning as its managing partner for its Philippines office.

Quess was founded by Ajit Abraham Isaac and was acquired by travel company Thomas Cook in 2013. Thomas Cook itself was acquired in 2012 by Fairfax, which is controlled by the India-born Watsa. The company says it provides its services to over 2,300 clients and employs over 3.7 lakh employees across India, North and South America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Some of its services include facility management, technology solutions, people services and internet solutions.

In July, Amazon.com Inc. said it would invest Rs 51 crore (around $7.4 million) in Quess. In a filing with stock exchanges, Quess said it would issue 7.54 lakh preferential shares to Amazon at Rs 676 apiece, translating to a 0.51% stake in the company for the United States-based online retailer.

Quess has also made acquisitions to add to its existing portfolio. For instance, in January last year, it acquired jobs portal Monster.com's India, Southeast and West Asia units as well as HCL Infosystems Ltd after-sales services business for consumer electronics and mobile phones.

Then, in July in the same year, it received board approval to acquire the remaining 36% stake in Singapore-based staffing firm Comtel Solutions Pte. Ltd for $16.3 million (Rs 111 crore). It had originally acquired a 64% stake in Comtel Solutions for about $20 million in cash.

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