Industry finds no particular pattern

| Updated on: Nov 10, 2017

Indian IT honchos on Thursday played down the sudden spurt in high-level exits seen in the industry over the last few weeks, and asserted that there was no definite pattern to the churn at the top deck.

A cross-section of industry leaders that Business Line spoke to at the Nasscom India Leadership Forum here said that although the change of guard in various IT companies happened around the same time, it did not underline a specific trend for the industry.

“It is only the timing… there is no pattern in it and one should not read too much into these movements. They are definitely not connected,” said Mr Som Mittal, Nasscom President .

Earlier today, software major Microsoft announced that Mr Ravi Venkatesan, Chairman and Corporate Vice President of its India operations had resigned. In January this year, Wipro surprised the markets when it announced the appointment of Mr T. K. Kurien as its new CEO, replacing incumbents Mr Girish Paranjpe and Mr Suresh Vaswani.

Also, in January Mr Ashok Soota, one of the icons of the Indian IT industry and Executive Chairman of MindTree, announced that he has resigned from the company he co-founded with nine others 11 years ago. Mr Soota had said that he was resigning from the company for personal reasons, and that he plans to launch a new business venture once he leaves the company in March.

“In some cases, it is happening because people are restructuring. Overall it is good to restructure — in the way you do business or verticalisation — when you are in a growth phase,” Mr Mittal added.

When contacted, Mr Ashank Desai, Founder of Mastek Ltd, also felt that it was a co-incidence that the announcements came at a particular point in time. “It is a co-incidence and one must not read too much into it. I hesitate to draw a conclusion as some exits have been for personal reasons and some for corporate reasons,” he said.

Mr Vishnu R. Dusad, CEO and Managing Director, Nucleus Software, also echoed a similar view. “These changes are completely delinked from each other. For instance, in case of Infosys it is a well-thought out strategy, and for Wipro it is a change of guard to spur growth. It is just that all these have happened within a month, but I would not think it is anything beyond that,” he added.

Infosys too is set to see some reshuffle — Mr S. Gopalakrishnan, it is widely speculated, may pass on the CEO baton to the current COO Mr S. Shibulal over the course of next few months. Moreover, Mr N. R. Narayana Murthy, co-founder of Infosys, is set to retire from the company in August.

What HR firms say

“Yes, these exits seem bunched together, but there's nothing alarming because there are different reasons for their exits,” says Mr E. Balaji, CEO of HR consulting firm, Ma Foi Consultants.

“Whether these exits are voluntary or involuntary is debatable,” says Mr K. Sudarshan, Managing Partner, EMA Partners, India, a global executive search firm. CEOs too have shelf lives and can only be successful for sometime. They cannot replicate successes or even sustain it forever while companies too need vigour at the top and a fresh leader always brings a new perspective, explains Mr Sudarshan.

He also feels the importance of the CEO has been overstated and the industry has made superstars out of its top executives. “Exits are natural and it's only getting noticed because they are visible quarter on quarter,” he points out.

Now that the economy is looking up, these executives could also be looking at entrepreneurship. “With the stock market falling by 15 per cent in the last few weeks and inflation at 17 per cent, money will become difficult to get if they delay their entrepreneurial plans. This could also explain the timing of the exits,” says Mr Balaji.

Published on February 11, 2011
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