Some people say Wipro has seen a lot of CEOs come and go. This newspaper believes otherwise. Wipro has had the same CEO for the past several decades, and that’s Azim Premji. To be sure, his business card may say otherwise, but Premji is the man who has called the shots at Wipro and all indications are that he, or someone who shares the surname, will continue to do so. Indeed, across many Indian companies, the CEO is not really the chief executive officer.
The chairman is. And Wipro has had the same chairman for as long as this newspaper can remember, even as it has seen several CEOs. Corporate governance experts tell us that the best-governed firms have split the posts of chairman and CEO. They don’t tell us that this also entails a demarcation of responsibilities, perhaps because this is sort of implicit in the first recommendation. Indian firms have been quick to split the post, but the majority, like Wipro, hasn’t done so with the roles