India’s third-largest software company Wipro on Friday announced a significant change in its top management, replacing the joint-CEO (chief executive officer) model with a single CEO. Existing joint-CEOs Suresh Vaswani and Girish Paranjpe would step down to make way for TK Kurien, who takes charge from February 1, 2011.
The leadership change was declared along with third quarter results. Wipro announced a 10% year-on-year rise in net profit at Rs 1,319 crore for the October-December quarter.
“The joint-CEO structure was one of the key factors that successfully helped us navigate the worst economic crisis of our times. With the change in environment, there is a need for a simpler organisation structure,” Wipro chairman Azim Premji said. He was not impressed with the company’s financials when compared with its competitors.
“I don’t think we should try making excuses about our performance,” he said.
Kurien who currently heads the eco-energy business at Wipro, a position he took over in April 2010, has earlier been associated with several business verticals such as telecom, healthcare, consulting and BPO, others and is expected to bring fresh insight into the company.
“He has good insight about various business verticals of the company,” Suresh Senapaty, executive director and CFO, Wipro told HT. Putting to rest the criticism about Kurien’s not being in the core IT business Senapaty explained that it is only for the last nine months that he (Kurien) has been with the eco-energy vertical of the company.
Both Vaswani and Paranjpe would continue to be on Wipro’s board of directors till March 31, 2011 and would then part ways with the company. The duo has not yet decided their future plans.
Paranjpe told HT that the fourth quarter is when broad planning for the next fiscal year takes place and is therefore best suited for management transition. “We kept ourselves out of single CEO’s post because we did not want to make it a choice between the two of us. We decided to take part in selection of the new CEO and be a part of the transition,” Vaswani told HT.
Meanwhile, Wipro’s earnings lagged behind its competitors TCS and HCL Technologies that announced over 30% growth in their net profits.