'Krishnamurthy's leadership has shown that he can achieve stupendous tasks. If for any reason at all he fails virtually the entire public sector will have to be written off for the next twenty years' noted the panel that chose V. Krishnamurthy as the Business India Businessman of the Year in 1987.
Management of a business enterprise in India is more difficult than in other countries. There are far more uncertainties that an Indian manager has to encounter while performing his tasks--even more so in state-owned companies than in private ones. But Krishnamurthy through his exemplary stewardship of three major enterprises changed the rules of the game in the 1970s and 1980s.
At Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited he saved the company from imminent disintegration and dispelled Indira Gandhi's impression that Indian managers did not have the ability to manage large organizations. At Maruti he was given the responsibility of not just manufacturing a car but of modernizing the automobile industry itself. Steel Authority of India Limited was almost a sunset company when he took over but he shook up the organization from its very foundations and put it back in a leadership position.
At the Helm is the story of how a boy from the small village of Karuveli in Tamil Nadu starts out as a technician at airfields during the Second World War but goes on to script the biggest success stories of young India's fledgling public sector over the next five decades.