Wipro CEO and MD Abidali Neemuchwala quits

The Board of Directors has initiated a search to identify the next Chief Executive Officer, the company said.

Updated - January 31, 2020 10:40 pm IST

Published - January 31, 2020 09:02 am IST - New Delhi

Abidali Z Neemuchwala

Abidali Z Neemuchwala

Abidali Neemuchwala is exiting as CEO and MD of Wipro after a turbulent period during which the company saw its business growth slide and stock value move at a slow pace compared to those of its peers in the Indian tech services market.

Wipro repeatedly under-performed and fell behind its rivals — Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Also, it lost its third position now and then to a highly aggressive HCL Technologies during Mr. Neemuchwala’s tenure, according to market watchers.

“The exit of Abidali, I think, is something positive for Wipro as it has not grown much under his tenure. Temporarily, the company will go through some uncertainty, but the transition will take the company to stability and path of growth,” said Shriram Subramanian, founder and MD of InGovern Shriram Research Services.

During Mr. Neemuchwala’s tenure, Wipro’s stock witnessed a conservative growth at 13%, while the stocks of Infosys and TCS grew 33% and 78%, respectively.

“Stock performance is a direct reflection of the business performance, and the company has been clocking flat or moderate growth back-to-back over many years, with a few exceptional quarters,” said another analyst. However, according to Phil Fersht, chief tech analyst and CEO of HFS Research, Mr. Neemuchwala’s tenure as CEO at Wipro was hampered by a constant struggle to change the leadership culture in the firm. “He was keen to bring a start-up mentality to drive more entrepreneurship and creative ideas within the company. He didn’t make all the changes he would have liked, but was in a constant battle to instil his ethos. He had some successes, such as the acquisition and expansion of Topcoder and [establishing] Rishad Premji’s VC fund,” he said.

Peter Bendor-Samuel, founder & CEO of consultancy Everest Group said, “Abid was handed a big task to turn Wipro around. In many ways he succeeded and has laid a strong foundation of good business and strong digital assets. The next CEO must focus on getting growth back...”

To a query from The Hindu , Wipro said, “The search process led by the Governance, Nomination and Remuneration committee of Wipro’s board of directors will be looking only at external candidates for the position of Chief Executive Officer.” However, analysts said Wipro was likely to consider internal leaders such as Wipro president Milan Rao, Rajan Kohli, who is responsible for Wipro Digital, or Rohit Adlakha, chief digital officer, chief information officer and global head, Wipro Holmes., as successor.

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