KOCHI: Some two years back Gary R Markham, 55, the chief executive of LSG, a UK-based tech company which has a big centre in Infopark, Kakkanad, was finding life pretty stressful. Lot of changes, he says, were happening at the same time – the constant travel, the problems in business and staying away from the family were all taking a toll on him. “I was in a mental state that I’ve never been in before,” says Markham.
A big part of the turmoil that Markham, a native of New York, underwent relates to the downturn in his business during that phase. The revenues were plummeting and restructuring that was forced upon LSG involved shutting down the company’s offices in four global locations outside India; and the worst part — sacking his employees.
Coincidentally, this was also a time when the firm’s Human Resource department signed up with yogacharya S Rajendran, who runs a yoga centre in Eroor, for LSG to improve its employees’ fitness and well-being. Markham also signed up and two-plus years down the line, he is a completely changed man – both physically and mentally. “It’s not that I was unfamiliar with yoga. In NY, we have yoga at several places but there it is more of an aerobic exercise, more physical. Here, the pranayama (breathing exercise) and the meditation were completely new experience. Very therapeutic,” Markham says.
Recalls Rajendran, who runs ‘Sree Yogadarshan’ for the last 20 years: “When I met Gary, he was distraught; with problem of over-eating due to stress.”
Over two years of yoga has not only brought a turnaround in his life, but also in his company. The revenues of LSG, which has offices in New York, London, Kakkanad and Australia, have seen a robust growth. The sales which went down from $12 million to $7 million during the worst phase two years back is now clocking an healthy $20 million.
“When you are in a positive frame of mind and when you enter the office, it’ll rub off on your employees. There’s positive energy all around,” Markham says.
Ask him about his yoga regimen, he says in a year, he spends a quarter in New York, another quarter in London, and another in Kochi. “The remaining quarter I’m in the air,” he jokes, referring to his constant travel. “So, I would be lying if I say I do yoga everyday, which is practically impossible.”
What Markham has learnt from the crisis is to think and act smart. “We have improved our revenues and the costs have come down, keeping our margins much higher. Our products under the portfolio have increased, we have branched out. We are more innovative and it’s paying off.”
His wife Jenny is also into yoga while his son Mathew, who is with Morgan Stanley in the US, may also find yoga useful, given work-stress in Wall Street firms. He says he considers his son’s stint in Morgan Stanley a stepping stone, before he takes over sometime in the future.