Sep 14, 2013, 06.45 PM | Source: CNBC-TV18

Vemuri exit: Infosys continues to lose senior talent

Infosys insiders say V Balakrishnan's prospects for the top job brightened after Murthy's return to Infosys, prompting Vemuri to look elsewhere for a similar position.

In Ashok Vemuri's exit, Infosys has lost yet another senior leader at a time when founder NR Narayana Murthy is working on a plan to get his company back on the growth track, reports CNBC-TV18's Kritika Saxena.

Vemuri, the erstwhile head of Infosys' Americas business, joined iGate as Chief Executive Officer, replacing ex-colleague Phaneesh Murthy who was forced to quit in May this year over sexual harassment charges.

Vemuri was tipped as one of the three likely successors to CEO SD Shibulal in 2015; the other two being V Balakrishnan and BG Srinivas.

Infosys insiders say Balakrishnan's prospects for the top job brightened after Murthy's return to Infosys, prompting Vemuri to look elsewhere for a similar position.

Who is Ashok Vemuri?

Ashok Vemuri joined Infosys in 1999 from Bank of America, and rapidly rose through the ranks. He was personally mentored by Murthy, and later by ex-CEO Nandan Nilekani and ex-CFO Mohandas Pai. At the time of his exit, Vemuri was a member of the board and a member of the executive council of Infosys, apart from overseeing the USD 2 billion Americas portfolio. In addition, he was Chairman of Infosys's China subsidiary and directed work within the Infosys foundation in America.

Infy's loss?

At a time when Murthy badly needs senior trusted leadership familiar with the basic DNA of the firm, Vemuri's departure can be a setback. Vemuri's sound knowledge of the US markets would have come handy as the US economy is now showing signs of recovery. So would have his excellent networking skills, at a time when the company is not only grappling with internal changes but also battling regulatory hurdles within the US.

Moreover, Murthy has already lost senior leaders in the company in the last three months, including Basab Pradhan, head of marketing and global sales and Sudhir Chaturvedi, head of the financial business in the US. A depleted leadership pool at Infosys can undermine confidence of investors and clients.

Already, brokerages are beginning to fret.

CLSA has reduced the weightage of Infosys in its model portfolio by 4 percentage points and raised weightage of TCS by 7 percentage points.

"Recent people move from Infosys has made us tilt in favour of TCS vis-à-vis Infosys," said the CLSA note to clients.

Infosys stock price

On December 01, 2015, Infosys closed at Rs 1076.65, down Rs 11.8, or 1.08 percent. The 52-week high of the share was Rs 1219.00 and the 52-week low was Rs 798.21.

The company's trailing 12-month (TTM) EPS was at Rs 66.53 per share as per the quarter ended September 2015. The stock's price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio was 16.18. The latest book value of the company is Rs 209.27 per share. At current value, the price-to-book value of the company is 5.14.

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