A tale of four CEOs: IT is not an easy job

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Last month, when Salil Parekh, Infosys’ brand new chief executive, addressed the media for the first time since taking over the top job at India’s second-largest technology services firm, he betrayed none of the turmoil that preceded his appointment nor the testing times that lay ahead. His predecessor Vishal Sikka had quit in August, following a long and nasty public battle with founder N R Narayana Murthy, who questioned corporate governance practices at Infosys.

According to Sanchit Vir Gogia, CEO of research firm Greyhound Research, the toughest task that lies ahead for Parekh is to set a vision for the iconic company, and also heal the wounds of the past.

“Salil has five big tasks at hand- manage stakeholder sentiment, further existing strategy and not overwrite it, ensure street performance, aiming for growth; build future leadership while ensuring stability and gradually morph organisational culture,” Gogia said.

It would be crucial for Parekh to continue with some of Sikka’s successes. When Sikka took over the reins of the company in 2014, he brought in a fresh lease of life on several fronts- employee morale, investor sentiments and rebuilding a strategy for the IT services firm.

“Vishal went to great lengths to convince customers abut MANA – the AI platform – and used his credibility with SAP HANA to sell on that vision – which customers bought into. He also hived off EdgeVerve which again the customers bought into. So for those customers that have already signed up for this vision, they wouldn’t want to spend the energy to re-examine that relationship and investment,” said Gogia.


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