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Bala to quit key post

Mumbai, Oct. 12: V. Balakrishnan is stepping down from his position as chief financial officer at Infosys from October 31. He will be replaced by Rajiv Bansal, currently a vice-president.

The sudden announcement stunned the Street and left a number of unanswered questions in the air since Balakrishnan was being tipped to take over as the next chief executive officer.

The Bangalore-based company said that Balakrishnan had voluntarily reliquished the position to give younger people the scope to advance.

Moreover, the current Infosys CFO will now be responsible for three businesses —Business Process Management, Finacle and the India business unit. Significantly it comes at time Infosys is feeling the impact of the global uncertainty even as it has under-performed in the recent past vis--vis peers such as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

Balakrishnan, or Bala as he is called, is a 21-year veteran at Infosys and he has been seen as one of the serious contenders for the CEO’s post. S.D. Shibulal, who took over as the CEO last year, will remain in this position till 2014.

“This is clearly a negative surprise. I had never expected Bala to give up the CFO post and be given responsibility that constitutes only around 10 to 12 per cent of Infosys’ revenue portfolio. This indicates some leadership issues at Infosys,” said an analyst who did not wish to be identified.

Opinion on the Street was divided with some contending that Bala was being groomed for the top position. Others felt he had been sidelined.

While Infosys has in the past rejigged portfolios of senior management, observers point out that Bala is a key figure behind Infosys chasing the margin game instead of going after volumes.

Last year, eyebrows were raised when T V Mohandas Pai, board member and director in charge of human resources, quit the company.

Bala has been handling the finance function at Infosys for six years. He will, however, continue as a member of the board.

 
 
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