Infosys, India’s second largest IT services exporter, announced on Friday it has begun the search for a new chief executive officer to succeed SD Shibulal, who retires next year. The company announced the door open was open to an external candidate, a first for the IT major.
Shibulal took over as the CEO in August 2011 and was expected to retire in March 2015 when he turned 60. Friday’s announcement would mean that Shibulal is unlikely to complete his tenure.
In a statement on Friday, Infosys said, “The Nominations Committee of the company’s Board of Directors has begun the search to select the successor to SD Shibulal, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director. Shibulal has expressed his desire to retire as the CEO and MD of the company and as a member of the Board of Directors either on the date of the last board meeting before his superannuation — January 9, 2015 or when his successor is ready to assume office, whichever date is earlier.”
The nomination committee includes three of its board members: KV Kamath, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and R Seshasayee. Kamath will head the committee.
Talking to FE, TV Mohandas Pai, chairman, Manipal Global Education and former Infosys board member, said, “It is a very good move and the timing is right. Hopefully Infosys will have a new CEO latest by December end.”
Pai added that the new CEO will have enough time to plan things for the financial year 2015-16. For the first time, since its inception in 1981, Infosys will have a CEO who will not belong to the founders’ group.
“The Nominations Committee will short list and evaluate an internal slate of candidates with the assistance of Development Dimensions International, a company specialising in corporate executive evaluations. The Board has also appointed Egon Zehnder, an executive search firm, to assist the Nominations Committee in identifying an external slate of candidates,” the release said.
Among the potential CEO candidates from within are the two presidents of Infosys — BG Srinivas and UB Pravin Rao. As things stand today, Srinivas has emerged as a strong candidate to take over as CEO. His experience in handling and meeting clients, besides running multi-billion-dollar business units within Infosys, will hold him in good stead. The $8-billion IT major will also prefer somebody who has a greater understanding of the markets compared to Pravin Rao, whose expertise largely lies in the ambit of delivery or back-office operations.