In another high profile exit at Infosys, India's second-largest information technology (IT) services company, Ashok Vemuri, head of operations (Americas) and global head (manufacturing and engineering services), has resigned. Vemuri, a member of the Infosys board, was said to be one of the contender for the chief executive's position, along with board members V Balakrishnan and B G Srinivas.
This is the third high-profile exit at Infosys since the return of co-founder N R Narayana Murthy as executive chairman in June. In July, Basab Pradhan quit as global head (sales & marketing). This was followed by the resignation of Sudhir Chaturvedi, senior vice-president and head (financial services for the Americas region) last week.
Vemuri's exit comes at a time when Narayana Murthy is on a US tour along with his son and Executive Assistant Rohan Murty. The agenda of the trip of is said to be client meetings.
"He may have quit because he may have realised, the road ahead isn't so clear for him. Or, some kind of messages might have gone out, especially on chief executive aspirants, which may have changed the power equations drastically," industry sources said.
In a statement on Wednesday, Infosys said Sanjay Jalona, who headed the company's manufacturing business in North America, would take over as global head of manufacturing. The company was, however, silent on who would head North America operations.
"Ashok has been an integral part of the Infosys journey over the last 15 years. He has played a significant role in building the company's market leadership in the financial services and manufacturing verticals and in North America. We would like to thank him for his significant contributions to Infosys in different leadership roles during his career and wish him the very best," the statement said.
Vemuri has not only spent 14 years with the company; he has also headed the Americas region, which accounts for about 60 per cent of the company's revenues. Till February 2012, he managed the financial services and insurance verticals, which accounted for about a third of the overall revenues. Under him, Infosys had maintained a significant lead over the competition in the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) segment. In February 2012, when the company appointed B G Srinivas as head of the BFSI business, it was widely speculated Vemuri was looking at an exit from the company.
Vemuri's exit comes at a time when the company is slowly trying to recover the ground lost to competitions in the last couple of years.
Though the company announced better-than-expected results for the quarter ended June, it maintained a cautious stance.
"His exit will add to the uncertainty. In fact, I feel it would hurt the company in North America, in terms of image. Ashok was quite well-connected, especially in the financial services space, where he headed the vertical for a long time. He commanded good respect among the client base," said Sudin Apte, chief executive and research director at advisory firm Offshore Insights.
While Vemuri's next destination couldn't be immediately ascertained, speculations are rife in the industry he may join Nasdaq-listed IT services company iGate as chief executive. Sources said he had an advantage over other iGate CEO contenders, as the company was heavily dependent on the financial services and insurance sector, which accounts for about half of its revenues. An iGate spokesperson couldn't be immediately reached for comment.