Wipro aims to smoke peace pipe with former top executives

To be sure, analysts and former executives said Pallia faces a difficult task in bringing about a turnaround at Wipro. (Photo: Mint)
To be sure, analysts and former executives said Pallia faces a difficult task in bringing about a turnaround at Wipro. (Photo: Mint)

Summary

  • Both Jatin Dalal and Mohd Ehteshamul Haque joined rival Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp less than 12 months after resigning from Wipro. The company sued them, but has now initiated processes in the courts to close the lawsuits.

Bengaluru: New CEO, new approach. Less than a month after Srinivas Pallia replaced Thierry Delaporte in the corner room of Bengaluru-headquartered Wipro Ltd, the company is attempting to settle lawsuits it had filed against two former senior executives, according to a review of court filings and two executives aware of the development.

Jatin Dalal, former chief financial officer of Wipro, and Mohd Ehteshamul Haque, the company’s former senior vice president and head of healthcare and medical devices business, were sued by India’s fourth-largest IT services company for breach of employment contracts.

Both had joined rival Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp less than 12 months after resigning from Wipro. The company has now initiated processes in the courts to close the lawsuits.

Also read: With Delaporte gone, can legacy hand Srinivas Pallia steer Wipro through AI age?

Dalal, who quit as CFO on 21 September 2023, joined Teaneck, US-headquartered Cognizant last December. Earlier, in August 2023, Haque had joined Cognizant as its chief commercial officer shortly after leaving Wipro in June 2023.

“I believe the change of leadership has promulgated a different approach to former executives," said Ray Wang, founder of Constellation Research, a California-based technology research and advisory firm.

“The services business ultimately comes down to relationships and capability. A combative approach is a short-term approach, not a long-term approach. Great companies know that their alumni can be a great asset when treated well. I believe that Srini and the team are taking a different and wise approach," added Wang.

The case details

Wipro had sought 25.1 crore in damages from Dalal in a suit filed in Bengaluru civil court. After initially opposing his request for arbitration, as prescribed in the employment contract, Wipro is now working to settle this dispute with its former employee, according to two executives who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“This (arbitration proceedings) matter should end soon," said one of the executives. “I will not get into details of the case but please appreciate that Wipro could see the return of many of its former employees who for various reasons had moved out of the company. No management would want to have these unnecessary distractions of lawsuits against former employees."

Email queries sent to Wipro’s attorney, Lomesh Kiran Nidumuri, partner at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas; and Dalal’s lawyer, Karan Joseph, Partner at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co, went unanswered till press time.

Separately, on 6 May, Wipro requested a New Jersey Court for 60 days to settle its case with Haque.

Also read: Thierry's 18 musketeers at Wipro, and what happens to them now

“Plaintiff (Wipro) also wants to inform the Court that the parties (Wipro and Mohd. Haque) have agreed to settle this matter. The parties are still finalizing the settlement agreement and will file a stipulation once the settlement agreement has been executed," Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the law firm hired by Wipro, said in a filing dated 3 May before the New Jersey court.

Emailed queries to Palo Alto-based Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and Haque’s legal team representative at Saiber LLC, the New Jersey-based law firm, remained unanswered till press time.

Tough task ahead

To be sure, analysts and former executives said Pallia faces a difficult task in bringing about a turnaround at Wipro, which ended FY24 with $10.8 billion in revenue, a 3.8% decline.

“Wipro is at a junction (not an unfamiliar territory) with the risk of a false start," HDFC Securities analysts Apurva Prasad, Vinesh Vala and Amit Chandra wrote in a note dated 20 April. “Wipro lags peers across a large number of metrics which cannot be reversed soon. The new CEO is likely to make small tweaks, the repercussions of which may not prolong – a good thing (vs. an extended period of senior management attrition earlier)."

 

Catch all the Corporate news and Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.
more

topics

MINT SPECIALS