Wipro Ltd CEO Abidali Z Neemuchwala is moving after a chaotic four years during which growth hampered and the Indian IT services giant fell farther behind competitors Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
Mr. Neemuchwala will continue at his job till a new CEO is elected, the organization stated in a report. His departure means an even more active role — at least temporarily — for Rishad Premji, Wipro’s hands-on, customer-facing executive chairman and son of outsourcing industry pioneer Azim Premji. It’s the culmination of growing dissatisfaction with Wipro’s inability to close the gap with Infosys and TCS, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named discussing a sensitive matter.
While the industry veteran presided over a 13% rise in Wipro’s stock over his tenure as of Thursday’s close, that lagged Infosys Ltd.’s 33% and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.’s 78% rally over the same period.
“A new leadership is required to push digital acceleration, improved execution, automation and stronger large deals for Wipro going ahead,” said Thomas George, president of CyberMedia Research & Service Ltd, citing the company’s single-digit growth.
Wipro, whose clients include Levi Strauss & Co. and Pitney Bowes, slid as much as 2.3% Friday. The company said in its statement that Mr. Neemuchwala was leaving for personal reasons, while the CEO was not immediately available for comment.
Like the rest of India’s IT industry, Wipro has struggled to adapt to a slowdown in growth in recent years and rising scrutiny in the US, its largest market. Customers have applied to industrialization and cloud services, avoiding the extra labor-intensive job that India’s largest IT firms trained in. The increased cost of adapting software and hiring locally in the US — a consequence of tightening visa restrictions — weighed on margins.
Mr. Neemuchwala linked Wipro as a CEO in 2015 from TCS, the industry chief where he used all of his past careers. He took the steerage precisely four years ago to the day. The then CEO prioritized cross-selling assistance to the organization’s top clients while supporting the contracting of local American expertise to change the firm from its bigger competitors. But Infosys and TCS made important investments in recent years on areas of AI to the cloud, while also moving up local operations in the US.