Mali Mahalingam, Former VP - HR of IBM India, has passed away. Reports suggest that Mahalingam had been experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms for about three weeks now.
Remembering the celebrated leader, ITC’s VP HR (Agri-Business Division), Prabhakar Lingareddy, told the media, “Mali reflected what H Jackson Brown Jr once said, ‘Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more’.”
Mahalingam had an illustrious corporate experience as an HR leader spanning three decades. An HR Advisor and Executive Coach, he partnered with several corporate clients in their leadership development initiatives through assessment & development and executive coaching.
Mahalingam was one of the 4 architects who designed the HR Competency framework now in use in India, developed under the aegis of NHRD Network and CII. He has been a member of Nasscom Mentor Panel for mentoring CEOs of SMEs in IT and ITeS sector. Most recently, Mahalingam was leading the human resources function at IBM India, as Vice President Human Resources.
This was Mahalingam’s second stint with IBM. In his first tenure, he worked with IBM India as Head of HR, leading all aspects of the people function, and was a member of the India/SA leadership team.
Prior to joining IBM, Mahalingam served as EVP and Global Chief People Officer for over eight years at Symphony Teleca Corporation, where he headed Global HR functions spanning over 20 countries, led over 12 small and medium acquisitions and their integration, in addition to managing the innovation programme for the company.
Other firms where Mahalingam created significant impact as an HR leader include Hewlett-Packard, Philips Software, ING Vysya Bank and Scandent Solutions, among others.
Learning of his demise, several industry leaders expressed grief and deep loss.
“I have known Mali for over 15 years now, an association that got cemented courtesy NHRD. Always smiling. I guess it came from his generosity of 'giving',” said ITCs’s Prabhakar Lingareddy. “His positive energy was contagious and he inspired so many professionals. I personally enjoyed interacting with him and always came back charged. For me, Mali meant Smile. He will be smiling wherever he is.”
"I am in deep shock since Mali and I were friends since 1979. Despite being my boss, he always introduced me to others as his mentor, that shows Mali’s humility and deep respect for academicians," shared Professor C Balaji.
“I had heard about him only through others. That he was a generous and jovial person, apart from being a leader in the HR community and a good friend and coach and mentor of many HR and business professionals. It's a huge loss to our HR community in India,” shared Gautam Ghosh, Independent Consultant, Digital HR.
Mahalingam breathed his last on the morning of May 6th.
He will fondly be remembered as a truly inspirational leader.