In an unexpected move, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rajesh Gopinathan on Thursday decided to step down to pursue other interests.

He has been with the company for over 22 years. The board of directors considered his request to be relieved of his positions, and accepted it. It has nominated K Krithivasan CEO-designate with effect from March 16, 2023.

Gopinathan will continue with the company till September 15, 2023, to provide transition and support to his successor. In his six years as CEO, TCS added over $10 billion in incremental revenues and over a $70 billion increase in market capitalisation.

For a company in existence for 55 years, TCS has had only four CEOs and Krithivasan will be the fifth. The company has had one of the most stable management teams in the industry.

Analysts Business Standard spoke to were shocked but said as regards the operations of the company, they were not concerned.

They said Chief Operating Officer N G Subramaniam would add to the continuity.

TCS is a large company, and such large players always have good internal candidates. I am not too worried at this sudden news. Of course the market may react in a different way,” said Deven Choksey, MD, KRChoksey Holdings.

Another analyst said: “We are surprised and shocked. Not that this will impact operations. TCS is a well-oiled company. It has always gone for internal candidates.”  

“When N Chandrasekaran (now chairman, Tata Sons) quit, Gopinathan was elevated and he was chief financial officer for the longest time then. Attrition at TCS’s senior level is very low, and even the CEO designate is an old hand there,” the analyst said.

On the appointment of Krithivasan, the analyst said: “He is well-known within the company and respected too. It will be easier for him to get into the new role than when Gopinathan had to take over in 2017.”

Krithivasan has been part of the global technology sector for over 34 years. He joined TCS in 1989.

In a media statement Chandrasekaran said: “I have had the pleasure of working with Rajesh for the past 25 years. During this period, Rajesh has always distinguished himself with exemplary performance in various roles, including his former role as chief financial officer. Over the past six years, he has provided strong leadership as MD and CEO and has laid the foundations for the next phase of TCS’ growth with significant investments in cloud, agile and automation to help clients accelerate their transformation. I am deeply appreciative of Rajesh’s enormous contribution to TCS. I wish him the very best for the future.”

Gopinathan said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my exciting 22-year tenure at TCS. It has been a pleasure working closely with Chandra, who has mentored me through this entire period.”

He added: “I have been harbouring a few ideas on what I want to do in the next phase of my life. After deep reflection and in discussion with the chairman and the board, we decided that the end of this financial year is a good time for me to step aside and pursue those interests. Having worked with Krithi over the past two decades, I am confident he is best positioned to take TCS to greater heights along with the leadership team. I will be working closely with Krithi to give him all the support he needs.”

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