Vemuri, seen as Infy CEO contender, quits

Written by fe Bureau | Bangalore | Updated: Aug 29 2013, 10:44am hrs
In a surprising development, Infosys on Wednesday announced the resignation of Ashok Vemuri, member of the board and head of the companys US business, marking the most high-profile exit among a string of departures from the country's second-largest IT services exporter since NR Narayana Murthy's return as the executive chairman on June 1.

Vemuri joined Infosys in 1999 and had held many pivotal roles in the company.

It is understood that, in all probability, Vemuri would be moving to iGate as its CEO. iGate is likely to announce its CEO next month.

Vemuri was considered a key contender for the CEO's post at Infosys after SD Shibulal's term comes to an end in 2015. This exit follows that of Basab Pradhan, senior vice-president and head of global sales and marketing, in July. Last week, Sudhir Chaturvedi, financial services head for the Americas had resigned from the company.

Vemuri, who was one of the highest paid executives in the organisation (an annual package of R4.91 crore), was also heading the manufacturing and engineering services division. The company said in a statement that a transition plan is in place and Sanjay Jalona, currently regional head for manufacturing in North America, will take over as the global head of manufacturing of Infosys.

An Infosys official said, The decentralisation initiative at Infosys was Vemuri's brainchild and he got support from CEO SD Shibulal. With Murthy centralising the decision-making and shelving Vemuri's plan to give greater autonomy and bring accountability to business verticals, his hands were tied up," he said.

Vemuri did not respond to an email query sent by FE seeking confirmation on his next move.

A stockmarket analyst said that Vemuri was expected to become COO when Shibulal was made CEO. Murthy is perceived as being close to BG Srinivas, head of BFSI and Europe. Vemuri did not see future growth for himself in the company, he added.

The Infosys statement on Vemuri's exit said, Ashok has been an integral part of the Infosys journey over the last 15 years. He has played a significant role in building the companys market leadership in the Financial Services and Manufacturing verticals and in North America. We would like to thank him for his significant contributions to Infosys in different leadership roles during his career and wish him the very best, adding his resignation will be effective September 12.

As soon as Shibulal took over the mantle of CEO, there were talks of who could be the next CEO. The company did not name anybody as COO, as is the regular practice. The interchanging of roles between Vemuri and BG Srinivas was seen as one of the tests to decide who could become the next COO depending on their performance. In February last year, Infosys announced that Srinivas has moved from the manufacturing and engineering business to head the companys financial services and insurance vertical while Vemuri took on Srinivas portfolio.