Finally Infosys India's second largest IT services company has made its choice. Salil Satish Parekh the man who helped build Capgemini's India operations is the new CEO and MD effective January 2018. Unlike IBM and Accenture, which recognized India's potential early in the late 90's and early part of the 21st century, Capgemini was slow in getting off the ground here. This was critical as having a large number of talented employees in a low-cost destination like India was critical to the success of a number of these multinationals. After a late start, it was under Parekh's leadership that Capgemini began to scale in India.
Today Capgemini which has revenues of about $15 billion and 190,000 employees has roughly a third of its headcount in the Indian operations. It was aided by the iGate acquisition too which had a large India base. Parekh was credited with the smooth scaling of Capgemini in India in spite of a late start and playing a key role in the iGate acquisition.
He was richly rewarded for this. He was eventually made the deputy CEO of the insular French company and even inducted into the group management team. Salil has primarily expertise in the European market where Capgemini has a large footprint.
53-year-old Parekh incidentally came to Capgemini when it acquired the consulting division of Ernst & Young, where he was a key leader in that practice. An IIT Powai aeronautical engineer, he also holds a master's in computer science and mechanical engineering from Cornell University
He takes over at Infosys during a challenging time in the company's 36-year history. His ability to get growth back at Infosys, improve morale, navigate issues with promoters and senior talent at the company, will be what observers will be watching. Parekh clearly has his task cut out.
Industry veterans have hailed Infosys' move to appoint Parekh as the CEO. Nasscom President R Chandrashekhar told PTI that Parekh is well entrenched in the industry and has international experience as well as a good understanding of Indian IT ecosystem. Parekh's appointment as the new Infosys CEO got a thumbs up from Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy. "I'm happy that Infosys has appointed Salil Parekh as the CEO. My best wishes to him," Murthy said.
On August 18, Vishal Sikka, the first non-promoter CEO and MD made a dramatic announcement that he would resign after being at the helm for three years. Sikka had said that he could not carry on his "...job as CEO and continue to create value, while also constantly defending against unrelenting, baseless/malicious and increasingly personal attacks."
The $3.5 trillion global IT services industry is undergoing a seismic shift with automation and Artificial Intelligence commoditising a large chunk of the market. Traditional models which served the $158 billion a year in revenue Indian IT industry well in the past like 'lift and shift' and 'labour arbitrage' have been upended.