Krithivasan (58), known as ‘Krithi’, joined TCS in 1989 and has held various leadership roles in the IT behemoth. Gopinathan (52), who was re-appointed last year as TCS’s CEO till February 20, 2027, will leave the software services arm of the Tata Group to “pursue other interests”, the company said.
The leadership change comes as the $227-billion Indian IT industry faces a challenging environment in some of its large overseas markets while also coming under the scanner because of its significant exposure to the American banking sector, which is in the middle of a financial crisis.
Under Gopinathan, who first occupied the corner office on February 21, 2017 amid a board battle at TCS’s parent Tata Sons, the IT company’s shares have rocketed 156%, revenue has zoomed 73% and profit has shot up 65%. Gopinathan joined TCS in 2001 from Tata Industries, where he worked on multiple assignments with various Tata companies since April 1996.
Gopinathan is the first CEO at TCS to cut short his tenure and head for an early exit. The previous CEOs, barring N Chandrasekaran, who has moved to a larger role at Tata Sons, have retired from the IT company.
A source close to Gopinathan said, “This (a change) has been playing on his mind for some time. He wanted to relook at his life in his 50s. He felt there’s never a good time or a bad time for a change. And so, he decided to move on.”
Tata Sons chairman Chandrasekaran said in an email to employees, “Rajesh has distinguished himself with exemplary performance and has laid a strong foundation for the next phase of TCS. I thank Rajesh for his contribution.” Gopinathan holds 2,760 shares of the company. According to his employment terms, he will have to give a six-month notice to the company. Gopinathan, said TCS, “will continue with the company till September 15 to provide transition and support to his successor”.
Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research, said, “Rajesh has done a great job navigating the pandemic. Krithivasan, as head of the BFSI unit, has had a lot of success with large deals. I think the board was looking for someone who was a practitioner.”