Infosys on Wednesday saw its tenth high-profile exit, less than a year after executive chairman NR Narayana Murthy returned to head the IT major on June 2 last year, with president BG Srinivas stepping down. The development is dramatic given Srinivas, a 15-year veteran at the company, was among those expected to succeed the current CEO SD Shibulal, who retires in March next year.
The other insider with a chance is UB Pravin Rao, senior vice-president and global head of retail, CPG, logistics and life sciences. Rao and Srinivas were appointed presidents in January and subsequently the executive council was dissolved. Other one-time contenders for the top job who have quit are V Balakrishnan, who headed the BPO business, and Ashok Vemuri, global head of manufacturing and the Americas. Previous resignations also include those of Basab Pradhan, global sales head, and Chandrashekar Kakal, who was heading the firm’s India business unit.
Infosys is understood to have interviewed eight internal candidates for the CEO’s post while simultaneously entrusting executive search firm Egon Zehnder with the task of finding a suitable successor.
In the firm’s annual report for 2013-14, Murthy wrote, “Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck where you do not belong.” Commenting on some of the earlier resignations, Murthy had indicated a few of them might actually be good for the company. On his return to Infosys, Murthy had asked for at least three years’ time to resurrect its fortunes. Infosys reported weak numbers for Q4FY14 with the management commentary on the demand environment subdued and in complete contrast with that of peer Tata Consultancy Services, which said it would do better in FY15.
Infosys guided revenues in FY15 would grow by 7-9%; analysts believe the firm needs to arrest loss of share in large accounts. Murthy has been emphasising the need to improve the efficiency of the sales team and the importance of trimming costs. The Street has been concerned about the large number of top-level exits believing they would hurt the company despite Murthy’s assurances.
Srinivas in a note on Wednesday said Infosys had given him a wonderful opportunity. “My tenure at Infosys has been one of my most rewarding experiences, and I am proud to have contributed to the best growth story in the industry. I wish the Board and Infosys the best of success in the future,” he said.
Murthy, executive chairman,