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'Rishad has all the values of Mr Premji and Wipro'

July 18, 2019 13:55 IST

'There’s a lot of continuity in terms of basic values and there’s also a lot of new thinking based on the generational shift… it’s a combination of continuity and change,' says Wipro Chief Executive Officer Abidali Neemuchwala.

IMAGE: Wipro CEO and Executive Director Abidali Z Neemuchwala announces the Q1 financial results of the company in Bengaluru, July 17, 2019. Photograph: PTI Photo

A change of guard is in the offing at information technology (IT) services major Wipro -- founder and chairman Azim Premji will step down next month and his elder son Rishad Premji will take over.

Chief Executive Officer Abidali Neemuchwala tells Bibhu Ranjan Mishra and Debasis Mohapatra that a good succession plan will take the company to greater heights and Rishad has all the values of his father.

Edited excerpts:

What changes can be expected at Wipro from July 31 when Rishad Premji takes over as the new chairman?

 

The succession planning has been going on for a while. It’s a very smooth transition. So you should not expect that something is going to be very different after July 31.

Of course, every new leader brings a new energy to the company, so I am expecting much more energy in the company. That’s the change we are looking for.

How do you see Rishad as a successor to Azim Premji in the company?

Rishad has all the values of Mr Premji and Wipro, and he’s also been part of Wipro for almost 12 years now. And, he understands the generation of millennial. So there’s a lot of continuity in terms of basic values and there’s also a lot of new thinking based on the generational shift… it’s a combination of continuity and change.

What sorts of change?

It’s not any sudden change but in terms of new thinking, on a long-term basis. It’s around technology -- how to use technology and invest in technology because they are changing so fast.

Will you miss the presence of Azim Premji to seek \guidance from, on a daily basis?

He’s there on the board and he’s the founder chairman. So he will be there at least once in a quarter, but operationally he’s not there. He has no executive responsibility in the company.

Growth seems to be missing Wipro for quite some time now and Q1FY20 was no different also. You have seen decline in growth in most geographies and verticals. What is holding the company back?

If you see the numbers on year-on-year basis, our BFSI segment has grown by 11 per cent. I will certainly not read much into the quarterly blip. Consumer (business unit) has grown about 8 per cent. We have a large engagement which was expected to ramp up but it is taking little longer. Wipro has shown double digit growth in the US.

That way, the areas on which we are focussed on have shown growth. Our client mining efforts are showing dividends with growth in $100 million clients (Wipro added 3 $100 mn client in the quarter).

Similarly, we are focussed on BFSI, in which we have historically under penetrated. Now we are gaining market share in this space. So, over time, we have prioritised our growth and are taking the path that we have chosen.

Bibhu Ranjan Mishra and Debasis Mohapatra in Bengaluru
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