Wipro: Wipro CEO banks on internal talent, promotes veterans

Signalling confidence in the depth of its existing senior leadership who have been with Wipro for many years and as measure to stem the exit of internal talent which had plagued the company during previous CEO Theirry Delaporte’s tenure, new CEO Srini Pallia has promoted at least five Wipro insiders, including three veterans, in the last one and half month.

Days after Pallia took charge of the top office, Wipro appointed Malay Joshi, a Wipro veteran for 28 years, as CEO of Americas 1, the company’s largest market. Early this month, Wipro appointed Hari Shetty, a Wipro veteran for 31 years, as chief strategist and sales excellence officer of the company.

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Again, this month, Wipro saw the exit of two former Capgemini executives and Delaporte’s hires – chief operating officer, Amit Choudhary and Anis Chenchah, CEO of APMEA. While Chenchah was succeeded by Vinay Firake, who is a Wipro veteran for about 26 years, Choudhary was succeeded by Sanjeev Jain who joined the IT major in April last year – still signalling its confidence on its bench by relying on internal talent.

Mail to Wipro didn’t elicit any response till the time of going to press.

Last week, Wipro also appointed Shreyas Bhosale as Wipro Engagement Leader for Private Wireless joint GTM with Nokia. The company also gave additional charge of Nordic region to Sarat Chand, the current Wipro-Benelux‘s managing director, by merging Nordics and Benelux into a new Northern Europe region. Chand is also an old Wipro hand working with the IT firm for the last 15 years. Analysts have applauded the move and said that it sends the correct signals to all stakeholders such as employees and clients to strengthen sticky relationships between them. They also expect more emphasis on home grown Indian leaders, unlike Thierry’s strong pivot to outsiders in the last few years.

Focusing on inside talent comes at a time when it has been dealing with exodus of senior leaders. This also comes after a period when Delaporte hired a lot of foreign citizens and expats at high salaries. Employees and observers who didn’t want to be named said that under the former CEO, Paris was the nerve centre of the organisation and thereby there was a disconnect with top management.

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In a blogspot, Phil Fersht of HFS Research, said, Delaporte rarely left his Paris base, while his CEO counterparts have been regularly rallying the troops across India and the US. Observers also say that the focus on internal talent was the need of the hour. An insider said that such was the situation that ironically a veteran taking over the baton has come as a breath of fresh air in the company. “As a veteran he would understand the ethos and pathos of employees who are cog of the organisational wheel.” Fersht wrote in his blog – the firm is bleeding talent, and morale has never been lower. He needs to nail down his plans quickly, give the firm renewed direction, and convince key stakeholders he is the right choice during perhaps the darkest period in Wipro’s history. Peter Bendor-Samuel, CEO, Everest Group, thinks Pallia will utilise global talent to a lesser extent than what Delaporte used to do.


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