, Indias second-largest IT-services exporter, on Friday named board members BG Srinivas and UB Pravin Rao as presidents of the company reporting to CEO SD Shibulal, a move widely seen as the start of a race between the two for the corner office.
While Srinivas was always seen as a frontrunner for the CEOs post, a string of recent top-level exits from Infosys has catapulted Rao, a senior vice-president, to the fore.
The IT major has also discontinued its executive council, a forum of senior executives within the company, which chairman NR Narayana Murthy expanded only two months ago. The firm in a statement noted that the business portfolios will be realigned under the two newly appointed presidents, adding that, In view of these changes, the executive council, as a forum, will cease to exist with effect from April 1, 2014.
In October, Murthy had added 12 new members to the council to involve fresh faces among the senior management in key discussions.
This is a clear indication that they are being groomed for the CEOs post. With the elevation, they will be handling most of the verticals after the CEO. This is also an indication that, apart from more centralisation of power with these two leaders, the company is not looking at talent from outside the organisation for the senior management attrition that Infosys has been witnessing of late. But this can be seen as confidence in their abilities and is a healthy sign, said Ankita Somani, IT analyst with Angel Broking.
Though CEO Shibulals term ends only in 2015, the search for the next chief executive is a long-drawn-out process and multiple options are being evaluated. Sources said it would be difficult for an external candidate to fit into the companys culture, adding that such candidates will also have to deal with a strong personality like Murthy.
Srinivas, head of Europe and financial services and insurance verticals, will focus on global markets, while Rao, global head of retail, consumer packaged goods, logistics and life sciences, will lead global delivery and service innovation, the Infosys statement said.
Financial services, insurance, manufacturing, engineering services, energy and communications will report to Srinivas, while he will also head public services, Infosys Lodestone, strategic global sourcing, marketing and alliances, the firm said. Retail, consumer packaged goods and logistics, life sciences, resources and utilities, services will report to Rao, while he will also lead growth markets, cloud and mobility, quality and productivity and Infosys Leadership Institute.
Last month, Rao had been inducted to the companys board following the exit of former CFO V Balakrishnan, who along with Ashok Vemuri, was seen as one of the CEO candidates. Balakrishnans resignation last month was surprising since he was considered Murthys blue-eyed boy. Several sources indicated that Balakrishnans departure had not been smooth and that the development was related to succession planning.
Recently, Infosys has seen a management churn with eight top-rank exits in the last seven months, including Ashok Vemuri who moved to iGate as CEO and others like Stephen Pratt, Basab Pradhan, Sudhir Chaturvedi and Subrahmanyam (Subu) Goparaju.