Infosys taps Capgemini exec as new chief executive following leadership feud

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Infosys taps Capgemini exec as new chief executive following leadership feud

Indian IT outsourcing heavyweight Infosys has named Salil Parekh, a 25-year Capgemini veteran and a member of the company's executive board, as its next chief executive after a public clash involving the company's co-founder and board resulted in the sudden resignation earlier this year of former boss Vishal Sikka.

Parekh will take over as chief executive and managing director of the US$10 billion company effective 2 January. He will replace interim chief U.B. Pravin Rao, who will return to his previously-held role of chief operating officer.

Parekh had been with Capgemini since its 2000 acquisition of Ernst and Young's consulting business but resigned in October in light of what the company called at the time "recent managerial evolutions." He possesses close to three decades of IT services experience, most recently serving on Capgemini's executive board.

"He has a strong track record of executing business turnarounds and managing very successful acquisitions. The board believes that he is the right person to lead Infosys at this transformative time in our industry," Infosys board chairman Nandan Nilekani said in a statement.

Former boss Sikka penned a shocking resignation letter to Infosys employees in August that decried an environment of "continuous… distractions and negativity." Some of those criticisms were attributed to company co-founder and former chairman NR Narayana Murthy, who claimed in recent emails that Infosys' independent directors felt that Sikka was more CTO material than CEO material.

"I cannot carry out my job as CEO and continue to create value, while also constantly defending against unrelenting, baseless/malicious and increasingly personal attacks," Sikka wrote in the letter.

The Infosys board released a statement soon after denouncing "the unfounded personal attacks on the members of our management team that were made in the anonymous letters."

Co-chairman Ravi Venkatesana said on an August call with investors that a whistleblower had raised concerns about falling standards of governance at Infosys. The company responded by bringing in independent investigators, who didn't find any shred of evidence whatsoever, he said.

Later that August, Infosys co-founder and former CEO Nandan Nilekani was named as chairman of the board, which caused the resignations of previous board chairman R Seshasayee, Sikka, and two other directors from the board. A group of 12 institutional investors applauded Nilekani's return in a letter, calling his credentials key in restoring investor confidence.

The public leadership shakeup saw Infosys' stock price drop more than 9 percent. 

Under Sikka, Infosys set a goal of hitting US$20 billion in revenue by 2020, but the outsourcing giant reported revenue growth guidance of just 6.1 percent to 8.1 percent for the current fiscal year. Technology Business Research analyst Boz Hristov wrote in April that the company's retail and consumer business accounted for just 15 percent of company revenue despite the acquisition of e-commerce platform Skava two years ago.

Maintaining a staff of more than 200,000 employees, Infosys specialises in IT consulting, business process outsourcing and services, including cloud, big data and artificial intelligence solutions.

This article originally appeared at crn.com

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