July 16, 2020

The executive exodus at Infosys is proving to be a blessing for others in the IT industry, especially second-tier companies. Most of those who quit have promptly been absorbed in leading positions in other companies, reflecting the hunger for talent.

The quality of the exiting talent also has been so high that it is said to have shut the doors for many in other companies who were vying for these positions.

Infosys president B G Srinivas, whose resignation was announced on Wednesday, is moving to Hong Kong-based telecom, internet and IT company PCCW. Ashok Vemuri, former board member who quit in August last year, moved to iGate as its CEO shortly thereafter.

Chandrashekar Kakal, who quit as head of global delivery in April, has just joined L&T Infotech as COO. Sudhir Chaturvedi, who quit as head of financial services for the Americas in August last year, is COO at NIIT Technologies, responsible for global sales and delivery of all technology and business services. There are others who have moved to Mindtree, Accenture, Capgemini.

“Infosys has always been a poaching ground for top-notch talent. Now when the company is in the throes of a people challenge, it’s an easy target for rivals to poach talent,” said Ronesh Puri, MD of executive search firm Executive Access.

He said a high degree of uncertainty triggers an exodus. “And it’s a little vicious circle where exodus fuels exodus, especially when the status quo is challenged,” he said.

Kris Lakshmikanth, CEO of Headhunters’ India, noted that Infosys had lost more client facing senior honchos to rivals than delivery-facing executives. This makes it particularly rewarding for rivals in their being able to now reach out to customers better.

Though the scale of what’s happening in Infosys looks out of the ordinary, leadership churns in big companies are themselves not unusual. In 2008, the year Wipro appointed Girish Paranjpe and Suresh Vaswani as joint CEOs, there were at least three senior-level exits.

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