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Infosys Top Executives Exit A Worry?

Infosys is still struggling with instability at the top, a year after former CEO Vishal Sikka exited and eight months after Salil Parekh took over that position.

CFO M D Ranganath, whose resignation was announced on Saturday to the surprise of most, is among four top executives who have left since January. Two months ago, Sangita Singh, who was executive VP and head of its $750-million healthcare and life sciences business, quit. Around the same time, Nitesh Banga, who was head of the manufacturing vertical, left. In January, around the time Parekh joined, Rajesh Krishnamurthy, who was president and head of Europe, quit after 26 years with the company. Some see at least some of the exits as part of chairman Nandan Nilekani and Parekh’s efforts at fixing governance and operational issues.

There are also those who see the exits to be the result of an absence of a coherent vision for the changing IT world.

Vivek Wadhwa, distinguished fellow at Carnegie Mellon University Engineering at Silicon Valley and a close watcher of the Indian IT phenomenon, says, “This is to be expected as the company reinvents itself – as it badly needs to do.

The next few years will be most traumatic for Indian IT because the markets are changing rapidly along with technology.” There need to be dramatic changes in the service offerings as well as management of Indian IT. The Leadership Institute (of Infosys) and curriculum are surely dated,” he says.

Nirmalya Kumar, Lee Kong Chian professor of marketing at Singapore Management University and distinguished fellow at Insead Emerging Markets Institute, says even though on paper Infosys is an outstanding company, things have been muddied for top executives because of lack of clarity on where the real power in the company lies. “The recent departures, not necessarily of the CFO, is symptomatic of the problem that it is not clear as CEO/CFO who do you report to. The Infosys board or Narayana Murthy, or both? Who is in charge? Despite having no formal governance role, Murthy clearly does not shy away from attempting to run the company through press pronouncements. It is depressing to see someone who was previously seen as a legitimate Indian corporate icon attempting to sabotage their own creation,” he says.

Vijay Govindarajan, Coxe distinguished professor at Tuck at Dartmouth, says such turnover is not unusual in the IT world.

He says there’s a good deal of turnover in both Silicon Valley startups as well as among digital giants. – Republish

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