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Vidya Laxman

Technology Director, Tesco

Vidya Laxman is one of the senior leaders at a global retail company. She’s built a career that could serve as an inspiration to women who want to work in technology.

Technology Director Vidya Laxman is a passionate champion for diversity, and she’s inspiring women who are interested in tech. Born and raised in India, she’s forged a successful career, not only in the tech industry but also in the commercial and public sectors.

Find a passion for tech

It all started when Vidya’s cousin lent her a computer. She had the chance to play around with systems and discovered a natural flair for programming.

After gaining her degree in Computer Science Engineering from one of India’s leading technical institutions, R.V. College of Engineering (RVCE), Vidya headed to the US to take up a Master’s in Computer Science at Boston University.

Eight years ago, she moved back to India after being based in the US for 14 years and was recruited by Tesco.

At that time, they wanted an Engineering Director to lead the company’s digital transformation. In January 2022, she moved to the UK and took up what is now her fifth role with the supermarket chain.

“Currently, I’m working on one of the largest portfolios — the payment gateway — which is leading and supporting tills globally, across all stores,” she says. “We are talking close to 60,000 devices where the point of sale has to work at any given time.”

Being there for customers

Vidya recognised the significance of technology during the Covid-19 pandemic. “At Tesco, we were able to help feed the nation and played an important role in the community.”

The company’s developments in its technology department paid off. People saw them as the top choice for online shopping — for anything from basic necessities to Christmas presents.

“It was thanks to tech we were able to have such a huge impact on our customers. They did not have to constantly log in and see a waiting room or that the site was down.”

If you like to continuously learn, enjoy change and want to make a larger impact on technology — this is the career for you.

Focusing on what matters

When it comes to moving with the times, technology is not the only consideration. Vidya says another factor plays a huge role in achieving success.

“You can know how to use the technology and hire the right technologists, but the culture needs to be there. If having different roles has taught me one thing, it’s that culture is critical.”

“We can’t just focus on work and looking at our deliverables without also considering the importance of diversity and the opportunities it brings,” she says. That’s why Vidya has been a sponsor for many women, participating in various STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) events and supporting local technology bodies.

“Tesco makes a real effort towards learning and development. They truly believe people are the best assets. They place a lot of importance on diversity which is at the heart of their values as a business” she adds.

The company is highly focused on its people’s progression and wellbeing. It offers upskilling programmes, counselling sessions and partnerships with universities and other organisations, investing in education internally and externally.

Building for future generations

Vidya believes that now is a great time for any woman who’s interested in a career in technology to explore the available opportunities. It’s the chance to be part of a community that’s creating change for future generations.

“If you like to continuously learn, enjoy change and want to make a larger impact on technology — this is the career for you,” she says.

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