Indian outsourcer Wipro loses another key exec

Indian outsourcer Wipro has lost another key executive, vice chairman and CEO Vivek Paul.

Wipro, India's third largest software and services outsourcing firm, has lost a key executive. The company's Silicon Valley-based vice chairman and chief executive officer, Vivek Paul, is leaving to become a partner at Texas Pacific Group, a private investment firm in Fort Worth, Texas, Wipro announced Thursday.

Earlier this month, the company lost another senior executive, Raman Roy, who headed Wipor's BPO (business process outsourcing) services business. Wipro's entry into the BPO market was through the acquisition in 2003 of Spectramind eServices, a CRM (customer relationship management) services company in Delhi that was founded by Raman.

Paul joined Wipro in 1999 from General Electric Co. and was in charge of Wipro's outsourcing business for about six years. During his tenure, Wipro's global outsourcing business grew from annual revenue of US$150 million to US$1.4 billion, riding the boom in outsourcing to India.

Wipro also announced Thursday the reorganization of the senior management of its IT business. The company has abolished the post of vice chairman and president, and the heads of the various business units now report directly to Wipro's chairman, Azim Premji, who owns 84 percent of the equity of the company.

Wipro got into the IT business in the early 1980s as a vendor of hardware, including PCs, to India's nascent IT market. After the liberalization of the Indian economy in 1991, as the design and manufacture of computer motherboards and software for the local market alone became uneconomical, Wipro focused its R&D (research and development) expertise on offering "labs-on-hire" to large multinational technology companies. It also got into the software and services outsourcing business.

Paul was the first Wipro senior executive to be based in the U.S. The company said at the time that it helped to have a senior executive in the U.S., its largest market.

Paul's departure is not the first by a top Wipro executive. In 1999, Ashok Soota, the vice chairman who led the transition of the company from its focus primarily on the domestic market to an outsourcing company, quit after 15 years to set up MindTree Consulting, an IT services and consulting company in Bangalore. A number of senior Wipro executives also left with Soota to join MindTree.

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