Krithivasan set for the next TCS chief

Krithivasan set for the next TCS chief

Krithivasan is set as the next CEO of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s biggest IT services company. Rajesh Gopinathan, who announced his departure as chief executive and managing director, would be succeeded by him. With effect from March 16, the board appointed Krithivasan as CEO-designate.He will take over as CEO and managing director in the next financial year, subject to shareholder approval. The effective date of his successor will be intimated in due course, TCS said.

Gopinathan, 52, has been at TCS for 22 years and was CEO for six years. His last date will be September 15, according to the company statement. He had been reappointed for a second five-year term in March 2022. Krithivasan is currently president and global head of the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) business group, which contributes the largest revenue share (31.5%) of the $25 billion company. Krithivasan joined TCS in 1989.

Thoroughly Enjoyed Tenure: Gopinathan

“This is certainly a surprise as the company’s performance has been strong under Gopinathan,” said Phil Fersht, founder of IT research firm HFS Research. “Krithi has a very strong track record leading the BFSI business and has 33 years in TCS, and will be a very solid presence to take things forward for the firm… Krithi’s appointment to the top leadership role spells continuity.”

N Ganapathy Subramaniam (NGS), chief operating officer of TCS, is also set to retire in 2024.

Krithivasan will take over at a time when the demand for technology projects is stressed due to macroeconomic concerns and geopolitical tensions. After growing at a frenzied pace due to pandemic-driven spending on digitization, IT spending have been sharply scaled back as organizations are dealing with the uncertainty in the global economy. According to Gartner estimates, growth of tech spending is expected to moderate to 2.4% compared with 5.1% estimated last year for 2023. Companies are banking on their ability to mine large deals focussed on driving cost efficiencies to tide over the crisis.

It makes sense to have a market-facing candidate as the new CEO in the next phase of the company’s growth, said Pareekh Jain, an outsourcing advisor. “It is important from the employee, clients and shareholder perspective that the CEO transition goes smooth” as that from N Chandrasekaran to Gopinathan in 2017. During Gopinathan’s tenure, the stock rose 160%. He was elevated from the role of chief financial officer to CEO in February 2017 after Chandrasekaran was appointed chairman of Tata Sons.

In his last interview, which was in December, Gopinathan had reiterated his goal to double revenue to $50 billion by 2030. He also led a major restructuring of the organization in April 2022 to make it more customer focussed. The previous reorganization at TCS was by Chandrasekaran in 2009. At 46, Gopinathan had been one of the youngest CEOs at the company. He joined it in 2001 from Tata Industries and worked to drive TCS’ newly established e-business unit in the US.

Gopinathan said he had “thoroughly enjoyed” his 22-year tenure at TCS. “It has been a pleasure working closely with Chandra, who has mentored me through this entire period,” he said in a statement. “The last six years of leading this iconic organization have been most enriching and fulfilling, adding over $10 billion in incremental revenues and over $70 billion increase in market capitalization.”

He took the decision to resign after reflection and in discussion with the chairman and the board. “We decided that the end of this fiscal year is a good time for me to step aside and pursue those (other) interests,” he said. “Having worked with Krithi over the last two decades, I am confident that he is best positioned to take TCS to greater heights along with the leadership team. I will be working closely with Krithi to give him all the support that he needs.”

Tata Sons and TCS chairman Chandrasekaran said, “I have had the pleasure of working with Rajesh for the past 25 years. During this period, Rajesh has always distinguished himself with exemplary performance in various roles, including his former role as the chief financial officer.”

During his time at TCS, Krithivasan has held various leadership roles in delivery, customer relationship management, large program management and sales. Krithivasan is also a member of the board of TCS Iberoamerica, TCS Ireland and the supervisory board of TCS Technology Solutions AG. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Madras and a master’s degree in industrial and management engineering from IIT Kanpur.