TCS new CEO confident about doubling down on customer deliveries
K Krithivasan, chief executive officer-designate of the country’s largest software services major TCS, on Friday said the company doesn’t have a culture of making radical strategic changes when it gets a new chief and sounded sanguine about doubling down on customer deliveries.
The USD 25-billion software giant in a surprise announcement on Thursday said Rajesh Gopinathan, its CEO for more than six years with over four years left to his second five-year term, has decided to move on from September 15. The IT major also said that Krithivasan, president of its BSFI vertical which contributes 31.5 per cent of its top-line, will head the company as the CEO-designate with immediate effect.
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Gopinathan, 52, said this is his first resignation and he has not written a resume since the campus days as he joined Tata Industries 27 years ago from the campus and TCS 22 years ago. He did not reveal his plans after September 15. The sudden departure of Gopinathan did not make much of an impact on the TCS counter. On the BSE, the scrip opened at Rs 3,151 after it had closed at Rs 3,184.75 on Thursday. After touching an intra-day high of Rs 3,194, the stock was down 0.62 per cent to Rs 3,165. The market valuation of TCS, a key constituent of Sensex, stood at Rs 11,58,419.07 crore on the BSE.
On the NSE, the company was down 0.47 per cent to Rs 3,169.90. It had opened at Rs 3,150.50 after ending the day at Rs 3,185 on Thursday. “Our core principle has been and will continue to be working for and with our customers and that will continue under me. I don’t expect or you (media) should expect, any great strategic changes under me,” 58-year-old Krithivasan told reporters through video-conferencing on Friday. Outgoing CEO Gopinathan was also present in the video conference. “In fact, TCS does not have a culture of making radical strategic changes when it gets a new CEO. We will continue as we have been — focusing on customers. But of course, changes will be there as the markets demand us to make. Our culture of ‘One Team’ will remain the core focus,” he said.
“It’s a continuum, we don’t change strategically when a new CEO comes in. But we will change according to what our customers want and how the market changes. We will not make any short changes but will continue to drive on our core focus of being with the customers,” he elaborated. “I hope to double down on our deliveries,” he asserted. Gopinathan said his 22 years at the TCS has been “fantastic”. “And having decided to move on, which was taken after a lot of deliberations with the family and the group chairman and my mentor N Chandrasekaran, I feel so light now.
“During past six years I helmed the TCS team with thrill. And I enjoyed each day I spent with the company. But today I have mixed feelings. Yes, I am also a bit sad as the reality sinks in and at the same time I also feel very light now,” he added. During his six years, he added over USD 10 billion to the company’s incremental revenue and over USD 70 billion to its market capitalisation. In the first nine months of this fiscal, he delivered a revenue growth of 14.8 per cent in constant currency terms, the best in the industry. On the timing of his resignation, Gopinathan said, “We are in the most stable times given what we have gone through in recent years. Of course, there are some ups and downs. It was important for me to announce the decision before the start of the new fiscal year.”
He refused to reveal his plans, except saying “have many ideas for the future”. “I feel so happy and light now, it’s completely liberating now, but a week before it was so consuming me a lot. Also, it is always better to leave when the going is good and not when everyone is rooting for my ouster,” he said. “The timing now was logical to follow. I have been meeting Chandra off and on and been telling him that I wanted to move on. So better to pull the trigger now. Yes, TCS has been integral to who I am and so is the group to me. Never had a second thought. And I am sure my contributions to TCS will be lasting. In the past 22 year, I never ever thought about anything other than TCS,” Gopinathan said as he turned emotional.
On is priority now, he said, “my immediate priority is that Krithi steps in smoothly and I will be available 100 per cent for him”. On the transition challenges, Krithivasan, who has been with the company for the past 37 years, said in a lighter note that shifting out of Chennai will be more challenging than the job of the CEO. “Transition is not rocket science as we have a stable team and we have worked together for so many years. Most important, certain business verticals I know well and the rest I will learn from Rajesh, he said, adding, “but we owe to our customers and stakeholders for our success and that will be my core focus — doubling down on our deliveries.”
Krithivasan said he is sure about success “as we are blessed with the one-team culture. We have so many leaders to replace me in the BSFI vertical and we don’t expect any dramatic changes going forward. Our core principle has been working customers and that will continue”.