In another top-level exit, Wipro’s head of large deals team quits | Mint
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Business News/ Companies / In another top-level exit, Wipro’s head of large deals team quits
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In another top-level exit, Wipro’s head of large deals team quits

The departure of chief growth officer Stephanie Traumtan comes amid a string of other senior management exits at the software services company

Wipro, India's fourth-largest software services company, is looking to turn around its fortunes. (Mint)Premium
Wipro, India's fourth-largest software services company, is looking to turn around its fortunes. (Mint)

BENGALURU : The head of Wipro Ltd’s large deals team has resigned, dealing another blow to chief executive Thierry Delaporte who has struggled to retain top leaders and turn around the software services company’s fortunes since he took charge in July 2020.

Cincinnati, Ohio-based Stephanie Trautman, who was recruited from Accenture Plc. as Wipro’s chief growth officer nearly three years ago, was among the most high-profile executives Delaporte had hired.

She resigned on Friday, according to a regulatory filing by Wipro.

A string of senior management departures at India’s fourth-largest software services company–including Jatin Dalal who resigned as chief financial officer in September–is disconcerting for analysts and investors.

Eight of Wipro’s 11-member executive committee members are new hires who joined over the past three years. Trautman, too, was a member of this board, the highest executive decision-making body at the company. 

“As part of its ongoing transformation, Wipro today announced changes to its Chief Growth Office (CGO). As part of the changes, CGO Stephanie Trautman will be stepping down from her role, effective December 31, 2023," Wipro said in its filing.

Significantly, Wipro’s large deals team, comprising at least a dozen executives, will no longer function as a centralised unit, and will now work with industry-focused business units.

“Over the past few months, we have started integrating the Strategic Pursuits team, formerly under the CGO, into our Strategic Market Units (SMUs)," Delaporte said in a statement.

“Embedding this function within the SMUs allows us to build on the processes and approaches developed by the CGO and bring this experienced team closer to clients and on-the-ground sales teams," he said. “This integrated approach will help us uncover new growth opportunities, enhance our speed to market as well as success rate in deal wins."

Trautman’s role at Wipro was under scrutiny as the company had not won a single mega-deal–contracts valued at more than $1 billion–over the past three years, according to two executives familiar with the development, both declining to be identified.

“The large deals team was increasingly coming to be seen as an expense centre as almost all the recruits (had been hired at) high salaries," one of them said. “Above all, this decision is also somewhat an admission that the earlier strategic decision to have a centralised large deals team did not work and was a failure."

Wipro’s decision to hire Trautman in February 2021 also saw Accenture approach a New York court to implement a non-compete agreement with its former executive, making it a rare instance of an IT services firm seeking to adjudicate non-compete employment clauses.

The case was later settled out of court; the details haven’t been disclosed. 

Wipro’s quarterly dollar revenue fell 2.3% sequentially in the September quarter. For the December quarter, the company expects growth to decline by up to 3.5% in constant currency terms. 

This will mean that for the first time, the Bengaluru-headquartered company has seen revenue decline in each of the four quarters in a calendar year.  

Wipro, which ended with $11.16 billion in revenue in the previous financial year, is expected to see revenue decline in fiscal year 2023-24.

Wipro’s underperformance, especially as compared to its larger rivals Infosys Ltd and HCL Technologies Ltd, and the departures of its senior executives has some analysts raising questions on troubles inside the company and the continuation of the CEO.

“CEO Delaporte is struggling to turn around the company," said a Mumbai-based analyst with a domestic brokerage, on condition of anonymity. 

“Trautman is the most high-profile exit as she, along with the CEO, CFO, COO and CHRO, was among the five executives who briefed the analysts and the media during the quarterly results," this person said. 

“Her departure is worrying because it makes one wonder what is happening inside the company, and if this will have any impact on whether the CEO will complete his current term?"

Delaporte’s five-year tenure ends in July 2025.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Varun Sood
Varun Sood is a business journalist writing on corporate affairs for the last fifteen years. He also writes a weekly newsletter, TWICH+ on the largest technology services companies. He is based in Bangalore. Varun's first book, Azim Premji: The Man Beyond the Billions, was brought out by HarperCollins in October 2020.
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Published: 08 Dec 2023, 05:58 PM IST
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