Wipro, the country's third largest information technology services company, announced on Monday that Abidali Z Neemuchwala, currently its chief operating officer (COO), would become the new chief executive officer (CEO), succeeding T K Kurien, who would become executive vice-chairman.
As a part of his new responsibility, Neemuchwala, who joined the Bengaluru-based company in March last year, would also join the board as an executive director. Both appointments would be effective February 1. Last month, this newspaper had reported that this was expected to happen.
|WHO IS ABIDALI NEEMUCHWALA?|
In his nine months as group president and COO, Abid has effortlessly assimilated into the culture and ethos of Wipro,” said Azim Premji, chairman. “The new structure will ensure smooth succession and will build on the solid foundation we have developed to drive superior growth and profitability. I wish both T K and Abid every success in their new roles.”
An electronics and communication engineer from NIT, Raipur, and with a Master's in industrial management from IIT, Mumbai, Neemuchwala had spent 23 years at Tata Consultancy Services, shaping its business process outsourcing business, before joining Wipro. When he joined last March,, he was widely seen as one of the contenders for the top post. Wipro did not have a COO since 2009, after the retirement of A L Rao.
“Over the past five years, Wipro has been transforming into a next-generation technology and consulting company, with defining differentiators in the market place. As executive vice-chairman, TK will enable Abid by leveraging his deep relationships with customers and chart out a new technology roadmap for Wipro,” added Premji.
“Abid has demonstrated a deep understanding of technology, business vision, sound judgment, and an innate ability to bring people together. I have no doubt that Abid is the right leader to lead Wipro in its next phase of growth,” said Kurien.
While Premji, the executive chairman, has always been at the driver’s seat as both chairman and as CEO (for three years), the company over the years has tried different types of leadership structure. Among the offshore-centric IT services companies, it was perhaps the only company which tried a the joint CEO model in 2008, something it decided to end in 2011.
“The new CEO will have to deal with both secular headwinds and company-specific issues,” said Tom Reuner, managing director for IT outsourcing research at HfS. “On the one hand, the notion of Intelligent Automation will decouple routine service delivery from labour arbitrage and thus disrupt the industry. On the other hand, Wipro has to reinvent itself and find a new strategic direction.”