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Salil Parekh: Infosys set for senior management recast

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BENGALURU: As Salil Parekh takes over the reins at Infosys next year, the $10-billion firm might be bracing up for another round of restructuring of its senior personnel.

U B Pravin Rao’s return to the role of chief operating officer has raised questions on the need for a dual-COO model. The company had named Ravi Kumar as Rao’s deputy to run the delivery organization earlier this year and the latter was named acting CEO following the resignation of Vishal Sikka in August. Parekh will need to eliminate the overlapping structures and functions for better execution.

The new CEO will also need to manage expectations as Kumar, along with BFSI head Mohit Joshi, was the internal candidate in the longlist for the CEO gig. Dealing with candidates who were passed over for the job is never an easy task for an outside nominee.

As reported by TOI, Parekh’s appointment has caused heartburns internally that could lead to some shake-up. While Infosys chose to go for an outsider, industry observers like HfS Research CEO Phil Fersht believe that the board did so to get the balance right. “Having someone who hasn’t been sucked into this internal quagmire and can drive change with a little distance from the intense (and proud) history is the right way to go,” he said.

Though Parekh is likely to rope in a handful of lieutenants from Capgemini — his previous company — he would be mindful of not upsetting the apple cart by making sweeping changes that’s not aligned with Infosys’ DNA and culture.

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“I am sure he will make some changes in areas where Infosys is lagging, such as bringing in some new counsel for growth and strategy. I would be surprised if Ravi Kumar or Pravin leave, as this was likely a key component in the new appointment — someone who wouldn’t decimate the current structure like Sikka did. I expect Parekh to be more externally focused — on M&As, clients and driving the overall strategy, while Pravin and Ravi will work on executing against these directions,” Fersht said.

Parekh has spent a long time in financial services, worked with global banks like HSBC and grew accounts like Royal Mail and GE. Constellation Research CEO Ray Wang said, “Salil gets the shift in IT services. He was responsible for the growth at Capgemini in his regions. He also understands the Indian services firms’ culture. Having a consulting, global view, and position to influence growth are all good factors.”

Angel Broking said in a report, “Parekh takes up the mandate at the time when Infosys is battling with the industry challenges like commoditisation of traditional services and foray into new services like digital.”

Updated: December 5, 2017 — 12:07 pm

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