Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Infosys names Capgemini senior executive Salil Parekh new CEO & MD

Interim CEO UB Pravin Rao will revert to role of COO and director on the board of the Bengaluru IT company

Harichandan Arakali
Published: Dec 2, 2017 07:29:54 PM IST

Infosys names Capgemini senior executive Salil Parekh new CEO & MDImage: Abhishek Chinnappa / Reuters

Infosys, India’s second biggest software services company, named Salil S. Parekh, a senior executive at French IT services company Capgemini SE, as its new CEO and managing director, taking another shot at non-founder-led management, after the previous experiment ended in acrimony.

Parekh (53) is a member of the group executive board at Capgemini. He will take over at Infosys on Jan. 2, the Bengaluru company said in a press release on Dec. 2. Parekh has a Master’s degree in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, and a Bachelor of Technology degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

Infosys was thrown into crisis by founder NR Narayana Murthy’s fight with its then board over what he termed were “governance deficits.” The year-long, public fight ended in Vishal Sikka resigning as CEO in August, three years after he had been handpicked for the job by Murthy himself.

This time round co-founder Nandan M. Nilekani was recalled, a week after Sikka’s resignation, to run the company as non-executive chairman and find a new CEO. Nilekani had promised to cast the net wide, in the search. He expected to stay and help the new CEO, he had said at the time, adding that he would eventually step down.

Nilekani has also since said that he is convinced that Sikka and Seshasayee did no wrong in running Infosys.
“We are delighted to have Salil joining as the CEO and MD of Infosys. He has nearly three decades of global experience in the IT services industry. He has a strong track record of executing business turnarounds and managing very successful acquisitions,” Nilekani said in the press release. “The Board believes that he is the right person to lead Infosys at this transformative time in our industry.”

India’s outsourcing companies are seeing their biggest customers shift to cloud computing, making much of their cheap labour based traditional application development and maintenance redundant. The advent of artificial intelligence, and the idea that everything can be purchased as a service has eroded the value of outsourcing at a time when the companies also face resentment in their biggest markets where they are seen as misusing visas to steal jobs.

Prior to his work at Capgemini, where he has spent over 25 years, Parekh has also served as a partner at Ernst & Young, or EY, a multinational accounting firm and consultancy, according to his LinkedIn profile. He lists his current position at Capgemini as CEO for UK, north America and Asia by markets and for global financial services, by vertical, on LinkedIn.

U B Pravin Rao will step down as the interim CEO and managing director effective January 2, 2018 and will continue as Chief Operating Officer and a whole-time Director of the Company.