New CEO increases Wipro stock by 70% without taking office, IT News, ET CIO

NEW DELHI: In the five months that have passed since he took over as CEO of Wipro Ltd, Thierry Delaporte has yet to visit the head office of the Indian outsourcer in Bangalore. Instead, the 53-year-old took a virtual tour from his Paris home, meeting with managers, workers and clients from around the world.

He’s trying to turn around the struggling business without letting the Covid-19 pandemic slow him down. Delaporte reduced the first ranks of the management from 25 to four. He has stepped up acquisitions, and more are underway. He mainly focused his attention on clients, meeting 130 people via video conference and helping to secure new multi-year contracts with clients in the United States and Europe.

Shares of the company have risen by around 70% since his appointment, most among India’s top four outsourcing companies during that time. It’s a rare victory for Wipro, but the one that French veteran Capgemini SE is determined to be will not be the last. He hopes to get Wipro back on track after years of turmoil and financial stagnation.

“There is a particular momentum in the industry right now, and I want to drive this emergency to put Wipro back in its place,” said Delaporte, speaking from Paris in his first interview since taking office as CEO. “I know I’m good at one thing – getting things done.”

Wipro needs more than enthusiasm. The company, majority owned by billionaire Azim Premji, has been lagging behind for years. In the fiscal year ended March, revenue grew 3.9% in constant currency terms, compared to 9.8% at Infosys Ltd and 7.1% at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, although both are good. more important. HCL Technologies Ltd, which replaced Wipro as the third-largest in the industry two years ago, saw growth of 17%.

Delaporte’s predecessor, Abidali Neemuchwala, took over in 2016 with similar ambitions. He left after four eventful years and fell short of his goal of making Wipro a $ 15 billion company by 2020. (Its revenues for the fiscal year ended in March were $ 8.1 billion. )

“Thierry seems to have the vision and the commitment, but he has an absolutely daunting task,” said Vasupradha Srinivasan, senior analyst at Forrester Research Inc.

Delaporte, whose hobby is long-distance running, is realistic that any recovery will take time. But, he says, the business is actually simple: obsess over helping your customers and the rest will follow.

“We know what we need to do to make this work,” he said, from an office whose walls are adorned with paintings. “In my first year, we will accelerate growth; the second year, we will be at the level of growth of our competitors; and the third year we will surpass.

While the United States is currently Wipro’s largest market, Delaporte sees opportunities in Europe and Asia. He has put in place a new transactions team – led by a chief growth officer – to handle large contracts with clients. In recent weeks, Wipro has landed orders from European clean energy producers Fortum Oyj and E.On SE.

The company has also stepped up its acquisitions. He says he has signed more deals in the past five months than in the previous five years – and plans to continue.

“I have no doubts that you will see a bolder and more ambitious Wipro as we move forward,” said Rishad Premji, president of the company.

Chosen from a crowd of candidates, Delaporte was a surprise choice. The Frenchman is the first CEO of an India-based subcontractor who is not of Indian descent, a cultural shift that reflects the industry’s transition.

Previously, the company was a simple paid labor arbitrage at a time when Indian companies could replace their own workers with better paid tech staff in the United States and Europe. Now, companies must deliver strategic insights and innovations, helping their customers find new ways to leverage cloud computing, data analytics and artificial intelligence. The challenge of this new mission is reflected in the industry’s growth rates which were once steadily in double digits and have since collapsed.

The coronavirus has hammered the business this year. The closures have forced companies to carry computers and back-up batteries to workers’ homes.

Still, the pandemic could turn out to be a godsend. Companies are increasing their spending on technology and the largest contractors are reporting a faster-than-expected recovery. Wipro had stopped forecasting revenue this year, along with the rest of the industry, but has since restarted, projecting sequential growth of 1.5% to 3.5% in the current quarter.

“Although it hasn’t always been the case in the past,” said Delaporte, “we will meet our expectations.”

When he needs to think or relax, Delaporte puts on his running shoes and roams the streets of Paris, covering around 40 kilometers each week. “When I run more and more, I am clearer in my mind,” he said.

It helped him clarify the precarious nature of his place at Wipro, even with a five-year CEO contract.

“If Wipro doesn’t grow, I’ll be the first to go,” he said. “There is no other way.”


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