IT major Wipro, India’s third largest IT services exporter with revenues of $7 billion, on Monday elevated chief executive officer (CEO) T K Kurien as its new executive vice-chairman (V-C) while appointing current chief operating officer (COO) Abidali Neemuchwala CEO and member of the board. Both changes will be effective February 1, 2016.
Kurien who took over as the CEO in February, 2011, will now hold the executive vice-chairman position until March 31, 2017.
Neemuchwala’s appointment as CEO comes at a time when Wipro is struggling to hit double digit growth rate and has fallen behind peers like TCS, Cognizant and Infosys.
He was appointed as COO in April, 2015 and will be CEO for a period of five years. He spent 23 years at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and is the second outsider to head Wipro’s IT business after Vivek Paul. He will report into Kurien. This is the the first time in Wipro’s history that the CEO has been elevated to the role of vice-chairman.
Neemuchwala who was a surprise entry into Wipro as the COO was given the task of streamlining and simplifying the delivery side of the business. It may be an uphill task for the new CEO to get the IT major back on the track of double digit growth rates. The last time, Wipro recorded double digit growth rate was in FY12 when it posted 13.4%, and since then the growth has been confined to only single digits.
Commenting on the appointment, Wipro chairman Azim Premji said, “Over the past five years, Wipro has been transforming into a next generation technology and consulting company with defining differentiators in the marketplace. As executive chairman TK Kurien will enable Abid by leveraging his deep relationships with customers and chart out a new technology roadmap for Wipro.”
Premji said, “In his nine months as group president and chief operating officer Abid has effortlessly assimilated into the culture and ethos of Wipro. The new structure will ensure smooth succession and will build on the solid foundation we have developed to drive superior growth and profitability. I wish both TK and Abid every success in their new roles.”
TK Kurien said, “Abid had demonstrated a deep understanding of technology, business vision, sound judgement and innate ability to bring people together. I have no doubt that Abid is the right leader to lead Wipro in its next phase of growth.”
“It is a privilege and an honour to be invited to lead Wipro, a company with a rich heritage of technology innovation and unflinching commitment to values. I am convinced that we are well positioned to seize new opportunities in today’s marketplace. I look forward to working with the thousands of Wiproites to take our company to greater heights,” said Neemuchwala.