K Krithivasan, TCS’s new CEO-designate, is confident about delivering for customers


K Krithivasan, the newly appointed CEO-designate of India’s largest software services firm TCS, expressed his confidence in the continuity of operations when he addressed the media on Friday. He affirmed that there is no intention to make substantial changes in strategy following his appointment.

Rajesh Gopinathan, who had been TCS’s head for over six years and still had four years left in his second five-year tenure, will be stepping down from September 15th. The USD 25 billion IT giant has announced that K Krithivasan—who is currently President of its BSFI vertical (the latter accounting for 31.5 per cent of total revenue) —will assume leadership with immediate effect.

The 52-year-old Gopinathan said this is his first resignation and he hasn’t written a resume since joining Tata Industries 27 years ago and TCS 22 years ago.

TCS counter did not respond much to Gopinathan’s sudden departure.

After touching an intra-day high of Rs 3,194, the stock was down 0.62 percent to Rs 3,165 on the BSE.

TCS, a key component of Sensex, was valued at Rs 11,58,419.07 crore on the BSE.

On the NSE, the company was down 0.47 percent to Rs 3,169.90. On Thursday, it ended the day at Rs 3,185 after opening at Rs 3,150.50.

I will continue the core principle of working for and with our customers under my leadership. The 58-year-old Krithivasan told reporters via video conference on Friday that he does not expect any major strategic changes under his leadership. Outgoing CEO Gopinathan was also in attendance.

As a matter of fact, TCS doesn’t make radical strategic changes when a new CEO comes on board. Our culture of ‘One Team’ will remain the core focus, he said. We will continue focusing on customers, though changes will be made as the markets demand.

Whenever a new CEO takes over, we don’t change our strategy. Instead, we’ll change based on what our customers want and how the market changes. “We won’t make any short-term changes, but will continue to be focused on the customer,” he explained.

Gopinathan 22 years at TCS have been “fantastic”.

Since I have decided to move on, which was decided after much deliberation with my family, the group chairman, and my mentor N Chandrasekaran, I feel so light.

In the past six years, I led TCS with excitement. I enjoyed every day I spent with the company. However, today I have mixed feelings. I am a bit sad as reality sinks in, but at the same time, I feel very light,” he said.

His six years at the company resulted in an incremental revenue increase of over USD 10 billion and a market capitalisation increase of over USD 70 billion. In constant currency terms, he delivered revenue growth of 14.8% in the first nine months of this fiscal.

Gopinathan said, “We are in the best of times given what we have been through in recent years. Of course, there are some ups and downs, but I wanted to announce the decision before the new fiscal year started.”

Only “have many ideas for the future” was all he would reveal about his plans.

It’s so liberating now, but it used to consume me so much a week ago. “Also, it’s better to leave when the going is good rather than when everyone is rooting for my demise,” he said.

“I’ve been meeting Chandra off and on and have been telling him I wanted to move on for some time. Now is the perfect time to act. I am sure that my contributions to TCS will be lasting. My contributions to TCS have been integral to who I am and the group to me. And I didn’t hesitate to make a decision. I have never thought about anything other than TCS in the past 22 years,” Gopinathan said as he became emotional.

Krithi’s smooth transition is his immediate priority, and he will have my full attention.

According to K Krithivasan, who has been with the company for 37 years, shifting out of Chennai will be more challenging than being CEO

Since we have a stable team and have worked together for so many years, transition is not rocket science. In addition, certain business verticals I know well and the rest I will learn from Rajesh, he said, “but we owe customers and stakeholders our success, which will be my main objective — doubling down on our deliveries.”

We have so many leaders to replace me in the BSFI vertical and we don’t expect any drastic changes going forward. Our core principle has been to work with customers and we will continue to do so.

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