IT major Wipro, India’s third largest IT services exporter with revenues of $7 billion, on Monday elevated chief executive officer (CEO) T K Kurien as its new executive vice-chairman (V-C) while appointing current chief operating officer (COO) Abidali Neemuchwala CEO and member of the board. Both changes will be effective February 1, 2016.
Kurien who took over as the CEO in February, 2011, will now hold the executive vice-chairman position until March 31, 2017.
Neemuchwala’s appointment as CEO comes at a time when Wipro is struggling to hit double digit growth rate and has fallen behind peers like TCS, Cognizant and Infosys.
But analysts seem happy with the timing of the change. On the management change, Sid Pai, an IT industry analyst said, “This is a very effectively handled change that is transparent to all the stakeholders. The new CEO also has had enough time understand the organisation.
Neemuchwala was appointed as COO in April, 2015 and will be CEO for a period of five years. He spent 23 years at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and is the second outsider to head Wipro’s IT business after Vivek Paul. He will report into Kurien. This is the first time in Wipro’s history that the CEO has been elevated to the role of vice-chairman.
Neemuchwala who was a surprise entry into Wipro as the COO was given the task of streamlining and simplifying the delivery side of the business. It may be an uphill task for the new CEO to get the IT major back on the track of double digit growth rates. The last time, Wipro recorded double digit growth rate was in FY12 when it posted 13.4%, and since then the growth has been confined to only single digits.
Commenting on the appointment, Wipro chairman Azim Premji said, “As executive chairman TK Kurien will enable Abid by leveraging his deep relationships with customers and chart out a new technology roadmap for Wipro.” FE