V Balakrishnan, head of Infosys' business process outsourcing (BPO) business and one of the frontrunners to succeed SD Shibulal as chief executive, quit the company suddenly on Friday.
The exit of Balakrishnan, popularly known as Bala, is the latest in a series of high-profile resignations that have rocked the company since the return from retirement of founder NR Narayana Murthy six months ago.
Bala, also the chief financial officer of the firm, said his departure was a "personal decision" and that he had been "thinking (about his exit) for the last one year".
"It is time for me to do something outside of Infosys. While my heart will always be with Infosys my mind wants to do something beyond Infosys," he said. His resignation is effective December 31.
Since Murthy returned as executive chairman on June 1 this year, eight senior people have quit Infosys. The company's global manufacturing head Ashok Vemuri quit in August this year to join smaller rival iGate as its CEO. Other high-profile exits from Infosys include Basab Pradhan, global sales head ,and the company's utilities head Stephen Pratt. Earlier this week, Subrahmanyam Goparaju, senior vice president and head of Infosys Labs, resigned.
Bala, along with financial services business head BG Srinivas, was seen as a close contender for Infosys's chief executive after current CEO Shibulal steps down in 2015.
"Bala is one of the best CFO talents in the country and I am surprised at his exit from the company," said Mohandas Pai, a former Infosys board member and HR head who quit the company in 2011.
In his new innings Bala will team up with Pai to start a venture fund that will invest in budding IT firms. The fund has a corpus of around Rs. 125 crore and is awaiting approval from Sebi.
"Bala has been an early adopter and a keen anchor-builder of Infosys. It is difficult to imagine Infosys without Bala's passion, commitment, and intellect. The Board and every Infoscion thank Bala for his wonderful contribution and wish him great success in his future endeavors." Narayana Murthy said in a statement.
Infosys also announced the induction of Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw as an independent member on the company's board. UB Pravin Rao was inducted as a whole-time director.