Top-level exits not a worry: Infosys CEO

K. V. Kurmanath
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S.D. Shibulal, MD & CEO, Infosys (file picture)
S.D. Shibulal, MD & CEO, Infosys (file picture)

Infosys is not worried much over top-level exits in the company in recent months, according to S.D. Shibulal, the company’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. The IT services firm expects to find quick replacements.

“We are a large corporation and we have got a lot of depth in leadership. It (top-level exits) has happened in the past,” Shibulal told Business Line. He is here to take part in the week-long Oracle Open World conference.

Once an IT industry bellwether, Infosys has been struggling to find its feet, particularly since the global slowdown hit the industry in 2008. Its founder and chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy rejoined the company a few months ago as Executive Chairman to bring it back on track.

Ashok Vemuri, who was heading Infosys’ Americas business, had resigned last month to join iGate as CEO. He had been tipped to replace Shibulal as CEO after the latter’s retirement.

In July, about a month after Murthy’s re-entry, Basab Pradhan, the then Global Head of Sales, had put in his papers. This was followed by the resignation of Sudhir Chaturvedi, who was heading the financial services business in the Americas.

“It is always sad when someone leaves. But we do have depth to take newer roles,” Shibulal said.

Industry challenges

Declining to discuss the company’s financials in the silent period, Shibulal spoke on the challenges the IT industry was facing.

Customers are demanding better value, and local capabilities to address their local markets, he said.

They are looking at higher business value, higher productivity and higher automation, he added.

The talent coming out of colleges is not good enough for the industry, the Infosys CEO said. Replying to a question on whether automation in the IT industry would lead to a reduction of jobs, he said:

“It is only the nature of jobs that will change. There would be a shift in jobs, not reduction.” Further, Shibulal felt that an increase in cost of operations in India will not impact its cost arbitrage advantage.

“Though the costs have gone up, cost as a percentage of revenues is still low in India,” he said.

(The writer is in San Francisco on the invitation of Oracle Corporation.)

(This article was published on September 26, 2013)
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