Will Wipro break with tradition to hire its first non-Indian CEO?

Will Wipro break with tradition to hire its first non-Indian CEO?
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
9 Mar, 2020

Wipro may consider bringing in a non-Indian CEO for the first time in its history. The Bengaluru based information technology (IT) services firm has been in the market for a new CEO since Abidali Neemuchwala put in his papers over a month ago.

According to the Times of India, former Accenture executive Omar Abbosh is among the frontrunners for the CEO job at the Azim Premji promoted IT services firm. 

Abbosh was with Accenture for 31 years and in his most recent role, he was the head of the Dublin-based IT services giant's $9 billion communication, media and technology (CMT) business. 

Neemuchwala had agreed stay on as CEO until a replacement was found.

While Indian IT services companies have their headquarters in their home country, they garner most of their revenue from the North American (more than 50% on an average) and another 25% from the European region including the UK. The customer meetings in these two regions call for CEOs to spend most of their time there.

Former Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka was based in the US most of the time as well as Neemuchwala, who also spent most of his time in the US. Sikka's preceding role as SAP HANA cloud platform role was based in the US and so was Neemuchwala. The New Jersey and Chennai-based Cognizant's CEOs were all based in the US.

Other media reports suggested that Bhaskar Ghosh, advisor to Accenture CEO Julie Sweet; Infosys’s deputy COO Ravi Kumar; Sandeep Dadlani, the chief digital officer at Mars; and another top executive at Infosys are also in the running for the top job at Wipro. 

Among internal candidates, Milan Rao, president at Wipro and who heads the marketing, innovation and technology team, is also among the top contenders for the post.

The CEO's resignation could not have come at a more inopportune moment for the company, which already lags behind the growth rates of its Indian peers such as TCS, Infosys and HCL Technologies. 

Wipro had reported a lower than expected quarterly revenue and profit growth during the third quarter of the current fiscal.

The IT services sector has already seen a slowdown in the banking and financial sector as well as retail sectors - the top two technology spenders among the industry's customers.   

The $190 billion IT industry has also been affected by the recent Coronavirus, while the immediate impact on the topline is not evident as of now. But industries such as tourism, hospitality, travel, oil and gas and food have all been hit badly by the crisis badly apart from the global economic slowdown because of the rapid spread of the virus across the US and Europe.