BT Mindrush: How Salil Parekh turned around Infosys

BT Mindrush: How Salil Parekh turned around Infosys

Salil Parekh, the CEO & MD of tech giant Infosys, is the winner in the Large Companies category in the BT-PwC India's Best CEOs ranking. He has managed to bring the bellwether back to its glory days.

Salil Parekh, the CEO & MD of tech giant Infosys. Salil Parekh, the CEO & MD of tech giant Infosys.

A soft demeanour is not always considered a virtue in business-that is the widespread belief. However, nothing could be further from the truth when one speaks of Salil Parekh. In 2018, he was brought in to salvage the business and image of IT services major Infosys after an embarrassing public spat played out between Infosys's founders and then CEO Vishal Sikka, severely denting the confidence of both clients and investors. Parekh walked into that tense situation having to balance many equations inside and outside-keeping the promoters in good humour and also not losing the trust of clients. Slowly but firmly, the mild-mannered Parekh shepherded the company through the difficult phase-no drama, no public posturing, no demonstrable aggression-and brought it strongly back onto the growth path. So strong that he was an easy winner in the Large Companies category in the BT-PwC India's Best CEOs ranking. 

Growth rates have quadrupled, revenues and profits are burgeoning, big deals and big clients are climbing at a fast clip, and high profit margin levels show Infosys has retained its traditional strength. And the stock is the market's darling once again-market cap has climbed 216.87 per cent to Rs 7.12 lakh crore on February 25 from January 2, 2018, the day Parekh walked into Infosys's corner room as its CEO & Managing Director. 

Typically, though, he downplays that part with a poker face. "My mandate when I joined was to get Infosys to a path that is more connected with the client," says Parekh, speaking to us from the company's vast campus in Bengaluru, looking dapper in a suit and tie. "We needed to be more relevant and that was really it." He explains how a greater understanding of clients' needs against what Infosys can do is what really gets him going. The focus on the client is not just a vital checkbox to tick, but is almost done with maniacal obsession. 

Of course, there is also interest in growth through buyouts, and he speaks of it existing in both verticals and geographies. There have been setbacks, too, with much-publicised glitches in the new Income-Tax portal being prominent. But in the larger context, Parekh remains optimistic about what the future will throw up. 

The five-year horizon is crystal clear in Parekh's mind. "Both as a business and as a company, we are in a very good position. We must be vigilant in connecting with the client… We do not want to be complacent." The determination, even in that soft tone, is unmistakable. 

The 10th edition of Business Today MindRush, the flagship event of India's biggest business magazine, will felicitate India's best CEOs on Friday, June 24. 

Read the full profile here: 

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Published on: Jun 22, 2022, 6:25 PM IST
Posted by: Mohammad Haaris Beg, Jun 22, 2022, 6:17 PM IST