We see stronger revenue growth during the second half: Wipro CEO


Wipro, the country’s third-largest software services exporter, posted a revenue growth that matched the lower end of its guidance in the second quarter of this fiscal, making it the weakest performer among its peers Infosys, TCS and HCL Tech. In an attempt to bolster its performance, Wipro is trying to become more aggressive in the marketplace. In an interaction with BusinessLine, CEO TK Kurien said that the second half of FY 2015 would see better growth for the company. Excerpts:

The September quarter tends to be strong for IT players. Why has yours been weak?

For us, the strongest quarters are really Q3 and Q4, which is how it has been historically. In constant currency, we have delivered 3 per cent growth in revenue, which is not bad. Unfortunately, we got hit more because of currency than others. While others had around a 0.6 percentage point hit, we were hit by 1.2 percentage points. In the third quarter, we expect to do much better, and we have guided for 2-4 per cent revenue growth. I don’t see too many negative surprises from the currency part in the October-December period. There has been subdued growth due to our top clients in the banking and energy spaces. However, both banking and energy will bounce back in the next quarter.

Global infrastructure services have been strong for you for some time now. Where is the demand coming from?

A lot of demand is coming from transformational deals. These include data centre transformation, end-user computing transformation and network transformation deals.

You talked about execution to ensure growth. Have you augmented your hunting team, which looks for new deals?

Execution involves the entire company and many other activities. We have hired about 10-12 people in the hunting team, which now stands at 162 people, this quarter.

In which segments would you like to expand Wipro’s footprint?

The biggest challenge for us is to get accounts in some industry verticals where we don’t have a play at all. For instance, we are a two-bit player in insurance, where there are a lot of application development and maintenance deals. We need to break into it. Insurance and auto are sectors where we would like to become a much larger player. Our biggest task is to work on making sure our portfolio is balanced effectively.

How would you describe your leadership style?

My leadership style is not to get rid of people but to take people along. As the world changes outside, how quickly can the internal organisation change to deal with the external stimuli — that’s my role as a CEO. I have 2-3 critical priorities that can change the shape of the organisation. I want everybody to focus on those and am maniacal about getting those priorities in place. The rest of the time I give people plenty of flexibility to operate and do what they want.

The biggest issue large organisations have is leadership. Leadership is about vision, courage and execution. Most leaders who succeed have plenty of courage. My biggest contribution is to offer my people courage, because if you believe in something you should go ahead and do it without seeking permission to do it. Large swathes of management are extremely permission driven. I joke within the company and say, if you do something wrong, at worst, we will fire you not shoot or kill you.

The ability to take risks is what a lot of leaders don’t necessarily understand. I believe if you don’t take a risk and don’t fail, you will never succeed. I have failed hundreds of times in my life, but every time I have failed I have learnt. The only thing is not to make the same mistake twice — that is stupidity.

Published on October 23, 2014

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