News Karnataka
Friday, February 03 2023

Meet the man who turned down the chance to become Infosys CEO

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New Delhi: Condulent Chief Executive Officer Ashok Vemuri on Thursday revealed that he had turned down the offer from Infosys to become its CEO.

The former executive at Infosys has delayed chairman Nandan Nilekani efforts to find a suitable for India’s second-largest software exporter.

Vemuri had quit Infosys in 2014 after founder N R Narayana Murthy overlooked him for the top post and brought Vishal Sikka as the company’s CEO.

Since then, Vemuri moved to mid-sized IT services firm iGATE and helped its promoters sell the company to Capgemini before joining Conduent, a technology services firm carved out of Xerox.

Vemuri, who addressed investors during a post-earnings conference call on Wednesday, categorically stated that he was committed to building Conduent for the next few years at least, with no intention of jumping ship—a declaration that seemingly quashes media speculation that he is preparing to return to former employer Infosys as CEO.

“…Whenever I have been approached for an assignment such as you described, I have not engaged and rejected any such overture. As far as I’m concerned, that is the end of that,” he said in response to a question by an analyst.

Infosys’ hunt for a new CEO has been on since co-founder Nandan Nilekani returned in August at the helm of the company after former Sikka quit, making investors’ confidence dwindle.

Sikka had cited continuing distractions over Murthy’s allegations of corporate governance failures which led to a public spat between the Infosys board led by R Seshasayee and the founders following which Seshasayee and two independent directors also quit.

At the centre of the controversy was the $200-million acquisition of Israeli technology firm Panaya and the subsequent severance pay to former chief financial officer Rajiv Bansal. An independent probe had cleared both Sikka and the Infosys board of any wrongdoing.

Vemuri has been the chief executive officer of Conduent since its inception on January 1, 2017.

Prior to Conduent, the front-runner for the post of CEO at Infosys was president, chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors of IGATE Corporation, a New Jersey-based global technology and services company, later renamed as Capgemini. During his tenure from 2013 to 2015

Prior to IGATE, Vemuri spent fourteen years in various business development roles at Infosys. From 2012 to 2013, he served as senior vice president and head of Americas and global head of Manufacturing and Engineering Services. Ashok was a member of the board from 2011 to 2013, and was also the key architect of the company’s vertical go-to-market model.

Prior to joining Infosys in 1999, he worked in the investment banking industry at Deutsche Bank and Bank of America.

Vemuri is also a member of the World Economic Forum IT Board of Governors and the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in physics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and received his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.


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