Infosys hires Salil Parekh of Capgemini as its new CEO

Bengaluru: Global software major Infosys on Saturday announced the appointment of Salil S Parekh from Capgemini as its new CEO and Managing Director with effect from January 2.

“Parekh, 53, joins Infosys from Capgemini where he was a member of the Group Executive Board,” said the IT major in a statement here.

Capgemini is a global consulting, technology and IT outsourcing firm headquartered in Paris.

Parekh, a veteran in the global IT industry, will be the second non-promoter executive of the $10.3 billion firm after Vishal Sikka, who resigned on August 18 following boardroom battles over corporate governance issues with its co-founders, especially N.R. Narayana Murthy.

“I am happy that Infosys has appointed Parekh as the CEO. My best wishes to him,” said Murthy in a separate statement.

Co-founder and Board Chairman Nandan Nilekani said: “We are delighted to have Salil joining as the CEO & MD. He has nearly three decades of global experience in the IT services industry.”

Nilekani, who returned to the company as non-executive Chairman on August 18, also said as Parekh had a strong track record of executing business turnarounds and managing very successful acquisitions, the Board believed that he was the right person to lead the company at a transformative time in the industry.

“The Board is also grateful to (interim CEO and MD U.B.) Pravin Rao for his leadership during this period of transition,” he added.

As Parekh takes over, Pravin Rao will revert to his post as Chief Operating Officer from January 2 but continue as Director on the Board.

Infosys Independent Director and Nomination and Remuneration Committee Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said Parekh was the top choice from a pool of highly qualified candidates for the post and “with his (strong track record and extensive experience, we believe, we have the right person to lead Infosys”.

Shaw is chairperson of India’s biotech major Biocon Ltd in this tech hub.

The full-time CEO post has been vacant since Sikka had quit, stating that he could not continue to work amid “malicious personal attacks”.

The company’s previous Board blamed Murthy for Sikka’s dramatic resignation three years after he joined the outsourcing firm in August 2014 from global software major SAP AG of Germany.

In a related development, Capgemini announced in Paris that Parekh would leave the group on January 1, 2018.

“Capgemini has agreed on Parekh’s departure. He has relinquished his responsibilities within the group and his managerial transition is already in place,” said the French company.

Parekh, who has Masters degrees in computer science and mechanical engineering from Cornell University in the US and a B. Tech degree in aeronautical engineering from IIT-Bombay, joined Capgemini in 2000 when it acquired the consulting division of Ernst & Young (E&Y), the London-based global accounting firm, and occupied leadership positions in the group during his 17-year-long stint.

“I would like to thank Parekh for his involvement in the Capgemini journey and contribution to the development of the group in India and the US,” said Capgemini Chairman and Chief Executive Paul Hermelin in the statement.

The Euro 12.5-billion ($14.9 billion) Capgemini is a 50-year-old firm with about 200,000 employees in 40 countries the world over.

Former Infosys Director and Manipal Global Education Chairman T.V Mohandas Pai hoped that Parekh’s appointment would work out better, as there was a similar business background in both the companies.

Indian IT industry’s apex body Nasscom President R. Chandrasekhar said Parekh’s appointment was a positive from multiple perspectives.

“He (Parekh) is well known in the industry and well rooted here. He also has multinational experience and global exposure, which will put Infosys in good stead,” the former Telecom Secretary told a business news channel.

Tech Mahindra’s Chief Executive C.P. Gurnani said as Parekh handled global services for Capgemini and knows how to manage people, he would be able to adopt to Infosys culture.

British-based Aston Business School research scholar Sanjoy Sen said Parekh’s appointment would be viewed positively in Infosys’ journey to rebuild its business positioning.

“It will also be seen by stakeholders as Nilekani’s ability to align rhetoric with reality by delivering to his promise, amid speculation that Infosys may not find the right candidate for months,” Sen said in an e-mail to IANS.

As India remains the heart of IT and Business Process Management service delivery, Sen said Parekh’s grooming in India would be an advantage to establish the right “face to the Infosys brand” in addition to his experience of working across global cultures”.