Infosys IT infra chief Samson David resigns in setback to Vishal Sikka3 min read . Updated: 14 Jul 2016, 11:55 AM IST
Samson David will join Hewlett Packard Enterprise as senior vice-president, enterprise services delivery, and will report to Mike Nefkens
Bengaluru: Infosys Ltd’s head of cloud, infrastructure and security unit, Samson David has resigned, a setback for chief executive officer Vishal Sikka who earlier this year entrusted David with the additional responsibility of heading artificial intelligence platform Mana.
David will join Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. as senior vice-president, enterprise services delivery, and will report to Mike Nefkens, executive vice-president of HPE Enterprise Services, said a spokesman for HPE.
Samson’s exit comes at a time when Infosys is betting on Mana to help the company win new outsourcing deals from customers as Indian IT firms, including Tata Consultancy Services Ltd and Wipro Ltd, battle for supremacy in monetizing their AI platforms. Last year, TCS launched Ignio, while Wipro unveiled its Holmes platform.
“Samson was tasked with building out Mana, Infosys’s automation framework, which is critical for Vishal’s key strategic pillars of automation and artificial intelligence. Infosys continues to struggle with the narrative around Mana; thus, executive departures are unlikely to help with short-term remedies," said Thomas Reuner, managing director of IT outsourcing research at HfS Research.
Infosys is still to appoint a successor to David. An email sent to Infosys went unanswered.
Infosys, which is in the early stage of a turnaround, has seen a string of senior leaders leaving the firm despite the company’s overall attrition coming down.
Since Sikka took over as CEO in August 2014, at least 12 senior executives (rank of senior vice-president and above) have left the company. These include four executive vice-presidents and eight senior vice-presidents.
Other than Sikka and chief operating officer U.B. Pravin Rao, Infosys has three presidents, 10 executive vice-presidents (EVP) and about 25 senior vice-presidents (SVP).
Some of the executives who have left the firm in the last 23 months include chief financial officer Rajiv Bansal, head of manufacturing and EVP Sanjay Jalona, Infosys BPO head and EVP Gautam Thakkar, and Infosys EdgeVerve head and EVP Michael Reh.
David, who put in his papers just a few hours before Sikka’s plane hit the tarmac of Bengaluru airport on Tuesday, is the sixth senior vice-president to leave the firm. Other SVPs who have left are Venkataraman Sriram, former head of Infosys Japan, Suryaprakash K., former head of Infosys Digital, Vishnu Bhat, former head of cloud computing unit, and Haragopal Mangipud, formerly head of Finacle.
Some analysts have flagged executive departures as an area of concern for the company.
“A little churn at the top is always the norm whenever there is any transition and a new CEO takes charge. But nearly two years after the transition, Infosys continues to see high-profile exits. And this needs to be addressed fast before it starts impacting business," said a Mumbai-based analyst at a domestic brokerage, on the condition of anonymity.
The road ahead for Infosys is fraught with challenges as the company works to scale its aspirational goal of becoming a $20 billion firm by March 2021, some analysts said.
“Is the glass half empty or half full? Under Vishal, Infosys has outperformed most of its Indian peers, yet as we have consistently suggested, there would be a bumpy ride to recovery. We are less concerned about changes in the executive team," said Reuner of HfS Research.
David, who joined Infosys in 1992 as a software engineer trainee, worked across different business units before being handpicked by Sikka in December 2014 to head the company’s infrastructure management services (IMS) division. Infosys has the smallest IMS practice among the big four IT firms, and under David, IMS unit grew 10.6% to $770 million in the year to March 2016. Infosys reported a 9.1% dollar revenue growth last year.
David is credited with automating a lot of manual tasks in IMS space, under the project code-named “Lamborghini", a name David borrowed from the Italian carmaker, to improve profitability even as technology outsourcing firms see a lot of commoditized deals come under pricing pressure.
David will be joining as senior vice-president, Enterprise Services Delivery at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.
“Samson will lead Enterprise Services’ delivery reporting to Mike Nefkens, Executive vice-president of HPE Enterprise Services," said a spokesman for HPE.