Wipro gets its new COO Bhanumurthy BM

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Following the elevation of its chief operating officer Abidali Neemuchwala as CEO, Wipro has appointed a new COO, and the model now replicates the one that Infosys has, where the CEO is based in the US — the IT industry’s biggest market — and the COO in India.

Bhanumurthy BM, president and chief executive of the business application services (BAS) business, is the new COO. He pipped three other presidents in Wipro for the post.

Earlier this week, Wipro had announced that Neemuchwala would be CEO and current CEO TK Kurien would be vice chairman effective February 1. Neemuchwala is based in Dallas, US. At Infosys, CEO Vishal Sikka is based in the US and COO UB Pravin Rao is based in India.

The BAS business that Bhanumurthy heads is by far the largest service line for Wipro, contributing 47% of revenue. In his new role, all the services lines — BAS, global infrastructure services, product engineering services, analytics, application management services and business process services — will report to him.

“Bhanu can drive the painful integration Wipro urgently needs across apps, BPO, cloud and infrastructure. The firm has been too siloed and putting a person like Bhanu under Abid is the right move to drive integration,” said Phil Fersht, CEO of US-based HfS Research.

GK Prasanna, president and chief executive of global infrastructure services, which has an annual revenue run rate of nearly $2 billion, has been made president of a newly-created unit called marketing, innovations and technology (MIT). Thi unit will comprise the CTO & CIO offices, marketing, strategic engagements (advisor relations & sales enablement function), and the integrated solutions group. This new team will focus on non-linear growth engines, products and platform-based services, integrated solutions, research, and new technologies.

Both Bhanumurthy and Prasanna will continue to report to Neemuchwala.

Wipro’s newly-carved out digital business headed by Rajan Kohli and business outcome services (BOS) led by Anurag Srivastava will be mentored by Kurien over the next few months.

“Wipro Digital and BOS, which are of strategic importance, are in their early days and TK will continue to mentor these businesses for now. These two businesses will transition to Abid in a few months,” said a Wipro spokesperson.

“Like all disruptive business models, the natural enemy of the new is the old. The open question for all the existing service providers is how they will navigate through this challenge and whether they can adopt the new business models while driving the old ones,” Peter Bendor-Samuel, CEO of US-based Everest Research said. He said that by separating these business and having Kurien focus on the digital space and by extension the new business models, and Neemuchwala driving execution in the maturing space, Wipro is trying to reconcile this dilemma.

“This approach holds both promise and risk,” he said, and added that the key issue is how much support Neemuchwala is given by the board to make the difficult decisions that the changing market place requires.

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