Infosys Board Member and President BG Srinivas, who was considered among the top contenders for the first non-founder CEO post, has in a surprise move resigned from the company.
This is the tenth top-level exit from the Bangalore-based company since the return of co-founder NR Narayana Murthy at the helm of affairs in June last year.
Neither Srinivas nor the firm gave reasons for the sudden move, which outsiders like former Infosys CFO V Balakrishnan felt was because he may have lost out in the race for the top job.
Srinivas, who was Infosys' highest-paid executive (annual compensation of Rs 7.52 crore in 2013-14 fiscal), led key portfolios like financial services, manufacturing and public services. His resignation will be effective June 10.
Infosys in a statement said: "The Board of Directors placed on record their deep sense of appreciation for the services rendered by BG Srinivas during his tenure as Member of the Board and for his contribution to the company." Balakrishnan -- who himself was considered a candidate while serving his tenure at Infosys -- told PTI: "I think, he (Srinivas) would have resigned as he might have come to know that he is no more in the race for CEO."
Despite repeated attempts, no response could be elicited from Srinivas on Balakrishnan's comment.
Srinivas and U B Pravin Rao, both Presidents and Board Members, were considered to be among the top contenders for the job of CEO when SD Shibhulal retires by January 9, 2015.
With the exit of Srinivas', the chances of an outsider taking over as the CEO of the over USD 8 billion company have brightened.
Srinivas, who joined Infosys in 1999, was elevated to the post of President earlier this year in January.
Murthy, who returned as executive chairman, has been making a series of changes at Infosys, including cutting costs at on-site work locations and shifting focus to large deals.
On Srivinas' exit, Murthy said: "Srinivas has been an integral part of Infosys and has played an important role in the company's growth."
Balakrishnan further said: "The Board has initiated the process to find the next CEO. I think they should complete the process soon or else it could lead to more confusion within and outside the organisation."
To a question on series of exodus post the return of Narayana Murthy to Infosys, he said ".....each one of us resigned because of different reasons."
"I only wish that the Board concludes the process for the next CEO soon, more time is taken- it will lead to uncertainty," he added.
Murthy was called back from retirement to head the firm, once considered an IT bellwether, and put it back on a high-growth trajectory at a time when peers like TCS and HCL Tech were out-performing Infosys.
Balakrishnan, its former CFO and Lodestone Head, had quit in December last year to pursue political aspirations.
In March this year, Infosys Operational Head (India business unit) Chandrashekar Kakal resigned from the country's second largest software services exporter. He has now joined L&T Infotech as COO.
While Infosys global sales head Basab Pradhan quit in July 2013, Infosys' global manufacturing head Ashok Vemuri resigned in August to join rival iGate as CEO. Stephen Pratt, who co-founded Infosys Consulting, quit in November 2013.
Other exits include Infosys Australia Head BPO Sales Kartik Jayaraman, BPO Head Latin America Humberto Andrade and Financial Services Head Americas Sudhir Chaturvedi.
Shares of Infosys closed 1.22% higher at Rs 3,172.20 apiece on the BSE, whose benchmark Sensex inched up by 0.03%.