IT major Infosys is poised to choose a CEO from outside its six founders as incumbent CEO S.D Shibulal is set to exit well before the end of his term. Days before announcing its annual financial results, the company declared to the stock exchange early on Thursday that it will start its hunt for a new CEO, and interestingly, this time the search will include external candidates.

The company statement said that Mr. Shibulal has “expressed the desire to retire” both from his current posts and from the Board of Directors. Mr. Shibulal, who was slated to retire in March 2015, will step down “either on the date of the last board meeting before his superannuation - January 9, 2015 or when his successor is ready to assume office, whichever date is earlier,” it added. This, analysts read as an indication that the take over of the new CEO may be sooner rather than later.

Infosys has seen several changes at the top-level in the over nine months since Mr. Murthy returned to the company including nine top-level executive exits, a few of whom were rumoured to be in the fray for the top job.

Over this period, Infosys also sent mixed signals by first beefing up its executive council only to disband the top decision making body months later, and appoint a fresh one.

Who's next?

Analysts are speculating that while internally the two presidents U.B. Pravin and B.G. Srinivas, appointed as recently as January, are natural top runners for the top post – with the latter being the senior among the two – the company may even opt for a foreign national given its “global outlook”.

Mr. Srinivas currently is in-charge of verticals that account for a substantial chunk of the company's revenues, and is heading a portfolio that spans financial services, insurance, engineering services and strategic global sourcing.

Head hunting

Infosys said in the statement that the nominations committee of the company's board of directors has begun the search to select Mr. Shibulal's successor.

The board has also appointed executive search firm Egon Zehnder to assist the committee in identifying an external slate of candidates, while Development Dimensions International (DDI), a company specializing in corporate executive evaluations, will help shortlist and evaluate candidates from within the company.

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