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Salil Parekh: Just the 'Turnaround Manager' Infosys Needs Right Now

Salil Parekh was chosen to lead Infosys from over two dozen candidates in a search that lasted about three months.


Updated:December 3, 2017, 9:09 AM IST
Salil Parekh: Just the 'Turnaround Manager' Infosys Needs Right Now
Salil Parekh is slated to take over as Infosys chief on January 2, 2018 for a period of five years.
New Delhi: Salil S Parekh, the new CEO of Infosys, is described as a soft-spoken yet determined man by those who know him.

These skills will certainly come handy when he takes over the top role at India's second largest IT company which is recovering from a year-long acrimony between the previous management and the founders, led by NR Narayana Murthy.

Parekh, 53, was chosen from over two dozen candidates in a search that lasted about three months and covered a wide canvas of names within Infosys as well as alumni and external aspirants.

He is slated to take over on January 2, 2018 for a period of five years, according to a statement by Infosys.

Parekh had joined Capgemini in 2000 after the consulting division of Ernst and Young was acquired by the French IT services company. He occupied various leadership positions in the group.

Parekh played a pivotal role in building Capgemini's operations in India and then, in Capgemini's acquisition of iGate in 2015.

He holds a Masters degree in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, and a Bachelors degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the IIT, Bombay.

People who know him describe him as a ‘turnaround manager’ with expertise in mergers and acquisitions.

Nandan Nilekani, Non-executive Chairman of Infosys, said Parekh has a strong track record of executing business turnarounds and managing very successful acquisitions and is the right person to lead the company at a time of transformation.

Nasscom President R Chandrashekhar said Parekh is well entrenched in the industry and has international experience as well as a good understanding of Indian ecosystem. He further expressed the hope that the appointment would bring the curtains down on the challenges within Infosys, which is a key player in the Indian IT industry.

With over two decades of experience, Parekh is also a sound choice as he holds a great understanding of tech trends of yesterday, today and tomorrow, said Chief Analyst, Founder and CEO Sanchit Vir Gogia.

The appointment also had the Twitter buzzing. Infosys and Parekh were in the top 10 list in India hours following the announcement was made.

Parekh is the second outsider — after Vishal Sikka — to be made Infosys CEO.

The Bengaluru-based company would also be betting heavily on Parekh's expertise in financial services and his experience with in North America and European markets, which account for over 80 per cent of Infosys' revenue.

According to industry watchers, Parekh has his task cut out. A major challenge for him would involve maintaining peace between the founders and the management, they said, adding that Parekh's performance would also depend on the how much independence he gets in decision making.

Besides, Parekh will have to push further the innovation agenda in areas like cloud, blockchain and analytics given the increasing automation across industries, rapid pace of technology change and increasing visa scrutiny in key markets, they said.
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