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Rishad Premji, Anant Gupta among 56 in race to join Nasscom council

A file photo of Rishad Premji. Wipro CEO T.K. Kurien is a member of Nasscom’s current executive council, but for next year the company has chosen to nominate Rishad, its chief strategy officer. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint (Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint)Premium
A file photo of Rishad Premji.
Wipro CEO T.K. Kurien is a member of Nasscom’s current executive council, but for next year the company has chosen to nominate Rishad, its chief strategy officer. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
(Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint)

Nasscom president Som Mittal says 18 executive council members will be elected by 1,400 members

Bangalore/New Delhi: Rishad Premji, son of Wipro Ltd chairman Azim Premji, and Anant Gupta, the new chief executive of HCL Technologies Ltd, are among 56 candidates running for election to join the executive council of Nasscom.

The lobby representing India’s $108 billion information technology (IT) industry is undergoing its biggest makeover after years of representing large software outsourcing firms such as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd and Infosys Ltd.

Nasscom, faced with criticism by small software product firms that it tended to favour the interests of the larger software services companies, last year appointed a seven-member committee led Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy to recommend ways to restructure the association.

Earlier this month, the panel said the trade body will restructure its executive council to ensure adequate representation for the newer areas of Internet and start-ups. This, Murthy said, will help the Indian IT industry achieve $300 billion (around 16 trillion today) in revenue by 2020.

Som Mittal, president of Nasscom and a member of the panel led by Murthy, said 18 executive council members will be elected by 1,400 members of the association by 19 March.

Nasscom has put up the list of candidates on its website.

“There are many small products companies this time and there are also several women candidates. We always try to have women members. There is Neelam Dhawan of HP (managing director of Hewlett-Packard India) and Roopa Kudva of Crisil (MD and CEO) has also been nominated in the past," Mittal said.

Wipro CEO T.K. Kurien is a member of Nasscom’s current executive council, but for next year the company has chosen to nominate Rishad, its chief strategy officer.

“It is their choice, we have no role to play there. There can be only one member from one company," Mittal said on phone.

A Wipro spokesperson declined to comment on Rishad’s candidature.

“The body is comprised of 18 people who are elected, along with two past chairmans of Nasscom, and there are six people who are nominated to represent regions or companies who are not represented in the elected members for instance, Deep Kalra of MakeMyTrip was nominated at one time. There are total of 26 members in the EC," Mittal said.

Experts tracking Nasscom and the Indian IT industry have been asking the association to increase focus on startups such as analytics firm Mu Sigma and online retailer Flipkart. The restructuring announced by Nasscom earlier this month was a step in that direction, said Forrester analyst Manish Bahl.

“The restructuring will be a radical change for Nasscom; it needs to ensure that in addition to bringing in the right leaders, a mind-shift of its own people takes place and a strong monitoring mechanism (is) in place to ensure its vision is successfully executed," Bahl said in his 4 March note.

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