In many ways, Infosys has pulled a rabbit out of its hat by appointing Salil Parekh as its CEO and MD who will take over his new position on January 2.

A member of the Group Executive Board of the Euro 12.54 billion French consultancy major, Capgemini, Parekh was never seen as a front-runner for one of the most coveted jobs in the Indian technology space.

But his track record shows that Infosys couldn’t have picked a more suitable person to head the organization. Parekh was at the forefront of the acquisition of the company he worked for, Ernst & Young’s consultancy division by Capgemini in 2000 and was widely credited for bringing scale and value to the Indian operations of the consultancy firm. In 2015, he led from the front for the acquisition of i-Gate for $4 billion.

These two acquisitions, one as being part of the merger process and another as being instrumental in acquiring a company, clearly shows that Infosys couldn’t have got a better person, the second outsider after Vishal Sikka, to head the company.

Peter Bendor-Samuel, the CEO of Everest Group, an advisory firm Capgemini told an Indian newspaper in 2015 that Capgemini has realized 10 times more growth than what Parekh had promised Pierre-Yves Cros, the chief development officer of Capgemini.

In an official statement, Paul Hermelin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Capgemini Group said:"I would like to thank Salil for his involvement in the Capgemini journey. Salil contributed in particular to the development of the Group in India and in the US."

Parekh’s mantra

In a Nasscom presentation, Parekh had outlined his strategy. These are 1. Stay Calm. 2. Market discontinuities make leaders -- winners and losers. 3. Look outside, not inside -- spend more time in the market with clients. 4. Be truthful with yourself and your people -- difficult to solve a problem without first acknowledging it. 5. Hire good people, remove non-performing managers. 6. Keep cash ready and use shares for acquisitions. 7. Drive operational excellence above other priorities. 8. Prepare the business to benefit first and fast when the market recovers. 9. Stay calm, don’t panic.

Parekh might have to re-read his own mantras before he takes up the onerous task of heading Infosys which has seen a great amount of turbulence over the last 18 months.

Early this year, following a tumultuous relationship with Infosys co-founder, N R Narayana Murthy , Sikka stepped down as the CEO virtually putting breaks to the growth of the company.

This forced another co-founder, Nandan Nilekani to step in as the chairman in an attempt to calm the investors as well as the shareholders’ concern about the future of the company. He immediately set up a committee headed by Biocon chief and Infosys Chairperson of the Nomination & Remuneration Committee, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw to hunt for a CEO. This resulted in Parekh being roped in to head the role.

Parekh will have, to use a cliche, task cut out. He will not only have to restore confidence among the employees but also fill up the right people to head verticals which are without one for some time now. A whole host of key personnel left the company following the exit of Sikka, some of whom came from the same company their boss came from, SAP Labs.

Hailing the appointment of Parekh, Narayana Murthy said he was happy with the announcement. "I am happy that Infosys has appointed Mr. Salil Parekh as the CEO. My best wishes to him.”