Neemuchwala's Wipro stint marked by contract wins, strategic direction

Abidali Neemuchwala
After a close to five-year stint at Wipro, Abidali Neemuchwala has stepped down as chief executive officer and managing director of the Bengaluru-headquartered IT services firm.

Neemuchwala, who had been given the additional responsibility of MD in July last year, has cited 'family commitments' as the reason behind his departure from the Azim Premji-promoted firm.

"The board has initiated a search to identify the next CEO. Abid (Neemuchwala) will continue to hold the office of CEO & MD until a successor is appointed for a smooth transition and to ensure that business continues as usual," the company said in a release.

Neemuchwala joined Wipro as group president and COO in April 2015 from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), where he was heading the BPM services division. He was elevated to the role of CEO in February 2016.

Under his leadership, Wipro has taken many steps to realign its business operations for driving faster growth. While the West Asia business of the IT services firm has been restructured, Indian business has also been reorganised by carving out a separate unit for state-run public sector undertakings and government organisations from enterprise business. The IT services firm has also divested its low margin data centre business as part of its portfolio restructuring initiatives. 

Despite being hit by client-specific issues in retail and healthcare verticals, Wipro has witnessed a fair amount of contract wins in large deal space. Under Neemuchwala, Wipro bagged its largest-ever outsourcing contract worth $1.5 billion from Alight Solutions in September 2018. The company has also bagged a $300 million deal from ICICI Bank in September last year. 

Revenue from the IT services has grown from $7.57 billion in FY17 to $8.12 billion under his watch, while the market cap of the IT services firm has risen to $22.2 billion in FY19 from $19.3 billion reported in FY17. 

"I am very satisfied with the progress we have made so far but it takes some time when you transform an organisation. It’s true that certain things could have been done faster but we are at the right place for most of the things," Neemuchwala had told Business Standard last year.

  • He has given a strategic direction to the IT firm by realigning portfolios
  • Wipro was aggressive in large deal space under his watch
  • The development came just after six months of getting additional responsibility of MD
  • His five-year contract as CEO ends next year

Analysts said that Neemuchwala has taken all the right steps in his stint though the IT firm has not been able to match revenue growth of that of its peers.

"The strategic direction of the company was right under his watch. It will definitely give a dividend to the IT firm in coming quarters", said a source familiar with the functioning of the firm.  

The resignation has come at a time when Rishad Premji has taken over the mantle of executive chairmanship from his father and founder, Azim Premji last year. "It was a little surprising as Neemuchwala has been given the additional responsibility of MD last year, which was seen as a sign of confidence in his leadership. Also, both the CEO and COO contracts will end next year," said another person. 

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