Home / Companies / People /  Wipro names Thierry Delaporte as CEO

Wipro Ltd has named Thierry Delaporte as the chief executive officer (CEO) and managing director of the company, handing the Frenchman the reins of the software services company as it negotiates the stormy waters of the coronavirus pandemic and an economic lockdown now in its third month.

Delaporte, who was chief operating officer of Capgemini group, will take over on 6 July, replacing Abidali Z. Neemuchwala at India’s fourth-largest software services firm.

Delaporte will be based in Paris and will report to chairman Rishad Premji, who said he is “the right person to lead Wipro in its next phase of growth".

Delaporte’s appointment is seen as a historic move as he is likely the first non-Indian to be put at the helm of any large Indian IT services firm.

“This is refreshing news," said Arup Roy, research vice-president, Gartner. He said the appointment will help Wipro in “gene jumping", which will strengthen the company with fresh ideas and practices.

“His appointment is a huge testimony to Wipro’s openness to accept outside talent. It also reflects upon the IT services industry as a whole," said Sanchit Vir Gogia, CEO and chief analyst, Greyhound Research.

Until recently, Delaporte was the chief operating officer of Capgemini and a member of its group executive board. During his 25-year career with Capgemini, he held several leadership roles, including that of CEO of the global financial services strategic business unit, and head of all global service lines. He also oversaw Capgemini’s India operations, and led the group’s transformation agenda, conceptualizing and driving strategic programmes across various business units.

“Capgemini as an organization has expertise in newer practices and, therefore, Delaporte’s experience could help Wipro in its next phase of growth. Also the fact that he is from Europe could help Wipro build its global presence as the next wave of growth is coming from the European markets, driven by GDPR, Brexit, etc.," Gogia said.

Delaporte joins at a time when Wipro is already underperforming peers. The covid-19 pandemic has added to the uncertainties. Wipro, which typically guides for the quarter ahead, has refrained from giving revenue guidance for the April-June quarter due to uncertainties around the covid-19 crisis.

“We do not have visibility into the extent to which it will disrupt our operations, and we have decided to not provide revenue guidance for the quarter ending 30 June," the company said in its Q4 earnings statement.

“In March, as the covid crisis rapidly deteriorated in key geographies such as Europe, UK, and the US, we saw a cascading impact on our business," Neemuchwala said at the time.

Wipro is already seeing instances of budget reductions, cuts in discretionary spend, requests for temporary discounts, pricing pressure, and restructuring of existing spends. “Sectors like retail, hospitality, airlines, energy—especially oil and gas—and auto segment in the manufacturing business are experiencing a more immediate and deeper impact," Neemuchwala said.

Analysts believe Delaporte will also be expected to deliver, among others, on the targets that his predecessor left incomplete. Neemuchwala could not deliver on his ambitious target of turning Wipro into a $15-billion company with operating margins of 23% by 2020.

Neemuchwala resigned on 31 January citing “family commitments" and will relinquish his position on 1 June. Rishad Premji will oversee the day-to-day operations until 5 July.

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