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Mindtree co-founders resign from board, company as L&T takes control

IT major announces resignations of chairman Krishnakumar Natarajan, vice chairman N S Parthasarathy and CEO Rostow Ravanan

Debasis Mohapatra  |  Bengaluru 

L&T has so far received bids for 55.4 million shares

Three co-founders who made one of India's most storied entrepreneurial ventures quit on Friday after the IT company was acquired by engineering giant L&T.

Executive chairman Krishnakumar Natarajan, executive vice chairman & chief operating officer (COO) N S Parthasarathy, and managing director & chief executive officer Rostow Ravanan submitted their resignations as board members as well as employees of the company. Earlier, Subroto Bagchi, another cofounder of Mindtree, had opted out of his re-appointment on the board.

"They will stay as board members till July 17 and as employees in line with their employment contracts to ensure a smooth transition," a filing said. The founders have also asked the firm to declassify them as promoters. The company will announce a new leadership team in due course, it added.

On Wednesday, L&T has been categorised as 'promoter' of the IT major after acquisition of a 60.06 per cent stake in the company. Earlier, the board approved the appointment of three of L&T nominees to the board -- the infrastructure major's CEO & MD S N Subrahmanyan and chief financial officer (CFO) Ramamurthi Shankar Raman.

Sources said that though L&T was keen on the continuation of Krishnakumar Natarajan as the non-executive chairman to oversee the transition, he exited since the engineering firm wanted its own man as the CEO. Natarajan said, "Mindtree has delivered exceptional performance for all its stakeholders over the last two decades. We are grateful to all our customers, Mindtree Minds and external stakeholders for their steadfast support throughout our journey".

Meanwhile, L&T has started a head hunt to fill the leadership positions at Mindtree, with names of at least three external candidates and one internal candidate doing the rounds.

Leading the race is former Cognizant president Rajeev Mehta. He is likely to head L&T's overall portfolio of IT Mehta, who left Cognizant in May this year as part of a big shake-up of top-level management, is expected to help the $18-billion construction and engineering major to oversee the integration process of Mindtree with other IT in L&T's portfolio.

Apart from Mehta, the former CEO of Birlasoft, also a co-founder, former CEO of the IT services business of Mindtree Anjan Lahiri, and former president of global delivery at Cognizant Debashis Chatterjee are also being considered. Among internal candidates, Parthasarathi Chatterjee, who heads L&T's oil and gas business, is seen as a probable candidate.

Mindtree was founded by 10 IT professionals in 1999. It was the fastest IT services company to cross $100 million in annual revenues, in the sixth year of its operations. The company, whose initial public offering (IPO) had been oversubscribed more than 100 times in 2007, crossed the $1-billion-revenue mark in the pervious financial year.

First Published: Fri, July 05 2019. 20:51 IST