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Here’s how Wipro CEO Thierry Delaporte wants to change the way the company functions

In the first of a two-part series, Moneycontrol will look at how Wipro’s new CEO is transforming the workforce landscape to become a more nimble and agile organisation in pursuit of growth.

November 19, 2020 / 05:52 PM IST

Close to five months into the role as CEO of Wipro, Thierry Delaporte has restructured the firm, betting big on its people to take the firm on the growth trajectory.

Talents, as evident from Delaporte’s strategy, is one of the key pillars that would accelerate growth for the firm.

What has changed in Wipro?

The company currently has seven strategic business units (like healthcare and banking), service lines (digital, cloud, data and AI) and nine geographies. Under the new strategy, this will be replaced with four Strategic Market Units (SMUs) and two Global Business Lines (GBLs).

The SMUs, organised by markets, will be aligned with GBLs, which are organised based on capabilities. The four SMUs are Americas 1, Americas 2, Europe and Asia Pacific Middle East Africa (APMEA). While Americas 1 and Americas 2 are organised by sectors, Europe and APMEA are structured by countries.

The two GBLs are iDEAS (Integrated Digital, Engineering & Application Services) and iCORE (Cloud Infrastructure, Digital Operations, Risk & Enterprise Cyber Security Services).

Its peers like Infosys and TCS follow the earlier model around business units, geographies and service lines.

To execute this change, building talent at scale is important.

Building talent at scale

It a key pillar in Delaporte's restructuring. This includes hiring across levels, and reskilling the legacy workforce in next-gen technologies such as cloud, analytics and digital technologies. The company will also build local talents across geographies and hire onsite. There is an increased focus on client-facing roles, gender and ethnic diversity at leadership level.

What changes at leadership level? 

The leaner structure translates to leaner leadership. Delaporte said under the new model, the leadership team has been reduced from 17 earlier to 10 with sharper focus on high performance culture. The company has also created a new role, Chief Growth Officer, who would be critical to driving growth in the firm, especially large deals.

The leaders include respective heads for the SMUs, GBLs along with functional heads, who will be reporting directly to the CEO.

The company will also add more global account executives (GAE), who account for only about 3 percent of the top 200 leadership roles and does not hold much influence. Delaporte said the idea is to increase to 25 percent and empowering them to drive growth in key client accounts and engaging with key customers.

“These client focus executives will focus a majority of time on proactive growth and relationship-building,” Delaporte said.

Who will be the executives driving growth?

These executives will be a mix of internal and external candidates.

Some of the executives, who were associated with the firm for over 20 years, were elevated to larger roles and some of them will be brought from outside.

For instance, Srini Pallia, President - Consumer Business, and Rajan Kohli, who currently heads Wipro Digital, were elevated to larger roles within the firm. They will now be heading Americas1 and iDEAS, respectively. “We will also have talent coming from outside in SMUs, chief growth officer and in many different countries and in many different roles you will see addition of talents from the outside,” Delaporte said.

“So, clearly promote from within but also bring talent from outside,” he added.

Hiring will also happen across different levels like technical talent in new-age areas such as AI, cloud and cybersecurity, domain experts, consulting and engineering roles.

“What’s important is driving strong performance orientation in the organisation. You have to drive outcomes and perform and get rewarded. That is a clear shift we will be seeing, moving forward, striking the balance between striking deep values and bring in the performance mindset in the organisation,” explained Saurabh Govil, chief human resources officer.

High-performance culture

There is lot of emphasis on high performance and simple organisation structure, which, according to the leadership, is a key shift.

Clear and crisp Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will be introduced. Govil pointed out: “Like Thierry said we will not shy away from taking bold and tough decisions – be it upgrading by bringing people from the bottom of the organisation to the top or changing people where they are not able to meet the performance in the new role.”

So, more lay-offs?

An analyst pointed out that Wipro was known as a more compassionate organisation, where performers are moved to different units rather than being laid off. So setting a bar high does mean that the company would be less lenient now that it was before.

In addition, when a new leader takes over, leadership churn is inevitable. Two executives -- Milan Rao, who heads Marketing, Innovation and Tech, and Bill Stith, healthcare head -- will be leaving the firm on December 31, 2020.

Cognizant saw a huge leadership churn after Brian Humphries took over as CEO. At Wipro, analysts point out, the scale will be much less. “So we might see few of them leave but a large churn is unlikely,” pointed out Pareekh Jain, founder, Pareekh consulting, an IT consultancy firm.

In the next part, the article will look at how the restructuring will help the firm regain  growth

Swathi Moorthy
first published: Nov 19, 2020 05:52 pm