He was once seen as one of the candidates to become the CEO at India’s second largest software services exporter Infosys once SD Shibulal’s term ended in 2015. But Ashok Vemuri, who then headed the Bangalore-based company’s Americas business surprised investors last month, by putting in his papers.
According to some reports, quoting Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy, Vemuri wanted to be a CEO early. Well that indeed seems to have been the case with Vemuri being appointed as the CEO of US-based software services company iGate.
iGate itself was founded by former Infy man Phaneesh Murthy, who was sacked as iGate’s CEO earlier this year, over sexual harassment charges and non-disclosure of a relationship with a subordinate.
There were several names being talked about as probable CEO candidates at iGate. This included Jeya Kumar, former head of Patni Computer, which iGate acquired in 2011, Salil Parekh of Cap Gemini, former Wipro CEO Girish Paranjpe, and Vemuri apart from several others.
iGate’s f ormal announcement related to Vemuri’s appointment has now put all the speculation to rest.
At Infosys, Vemuri oversaw the company’s operations in the Americas region (the largest revenue geography for Infy) and was also global head of manufacturing. He would have had to fight with BPO and India business head V Balakrishnan and BG Srinivas, Europe head, for the CEO’s post.
That apart, Narayana Murthy bringing in his son Rohan Murthy as his executive assistant only for the company to disclose later that he will be named as a vice President, once approved by the corporate affairs ministry, also may have clouded Infy’s leadership path, likely prompting Vemuri to put in his papers.
Now Vemuri gets to sit in the driving seat at iGate. His compensation will also rise substantially. According to a report by Times of India, which quotes sources, he will receive about USD 3 million (Rs 19 crore), much higher than the Rs 4.91 crore cash compensation he received at Infy in 2012-13.
But the road ahead will not be smooth for Vemuri at iGate. The biggest challenge for him will be the USD 900 million debt the company is sitting on, following the acquisition of the larger Patni Computer.
Then there are other challenges, like heightened competition, a cut back in discretionary spends by clients across the IT industry, amid the global economic uncertainties and the pending US immigration bill.
When senior executives move, they usually also take on board existing colleagues/co-workers to new companies. So will we see more senior executive exits from Infosys?
That will surely not be good news for the company, which has already seen several top people like Basab Pradhan (sales head), Sudhir Chaturvedi (head of financial services for Americas region) and Humberto Andrade (head of Infy’s Latin America BPO operations) quit in the last few months.