Wipro grooming three internal executives for top role

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BENGALURU: Wipro is said to be grooming at least three internal leaders for the top job. These include Srini Pallia, CEO for Americas 1, Suzanne Dann, CEO for Americas 2, and Pierre Bruno, CEO for Europe, sources told TOI. Americas 1 and Americas 2 are part of the America strategic market unit, with each having a different set of industries.
Pallia is a 32-year Wipro veteran and has done several major roles including as global head of business applications services.Dann joined Wipro in 2021, after leadership roles at Avanade, IBM, and EY. Bruno also joined in 2021, after 8 years at DXC Technology, and 14 years at Dell. Sources said Wipro plans to benchmark them against external candidates. Wipro CEO Thierry Delaporte whose five year tenure ends in July 2025. An email sent to Wipro on succession planning, didn’t elicit a response till the time of going to the press.
Phil Fersht, CEO of consulting firm HfS Research, says he would not be surprised if Wipro promotes its next leader from within its ranks to send a strong message to its own people. “Suzanne Dann would be an inspired choice in my opinion, with her strong financial services relationships, her history with IBM, and being based in New York where so many enterprise clients have their headquarters. It would also be tremendous for one of the leading Indian-heritage firms to appoint a woman as their CEO and set the example for others to follow,” he says.
Peter Bendor-Samuel, founder of research firm Everest Group, also thinks Wipro would prefer to have an internal candidate emerge. “They have a strong culture and it’s always difficult for an outsider to lead such a culture,” he says.
Delaporte was an external candidate, he came to Wipro after 25 years at Capgemini. His predecessor, Abidali Neemuchwala, came from TCS. But prior to that, the company had internal candidates, including TK Kurien, Suresh Vaswani and Girish Paranjpe.
But Hansa Iyengar, senior principal analyst at London-based consulting firm Omdia, says the problem with Wipro (whose revenue growth has for years been weak relative to that of its peers) is not related to the CEO being internal or external. The company, she says, has had able people at the helm. “The problem has been incessant internal politics that interfere with the firm’s operations and spill over into its ability to deliver exceptional experiences to customers. Wipro was ahead of the curve when the entire digital transformation trend was catching up, but they lost crucial years in internal strife that allowed competition to get significantly ahead. And they have been playing catch-up ever since – which makes them more reactive than proactive in key areas,” she says.
Delaporte has been working on a major restructuring, but industry observers are wondering if too many changes happened too soon. The exit of several long-serving top leaders, including Rajan Kohli and Angan Guha, appears to suggest that. Some 75 senior VPs and 300 general managers also exited the firm in the first year after he took charge. If one measures the success of the transformation through the growth and margin lens, it does not seem to have paid off yet.
“My mission is to rebuild Wipro for the next 5-10 years,” Delaporte told TOI after the September quarter results. But the question is, will a revenue growth turnaround happen before the end of his term and persuade the Premjis to offer him a second term? If that doesn’t happen, or if he declines a second term, the choice may be among the second line being groomed.

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