Rajesh Gopinathan: It’s best to leave when going’s good: TCS CEO Rajesh Gopinathan


MUMBAI/BENGALURU: “If you have to leave, it’s always better to leave when everything is good, rather than when everybody is rooting to get you out,” said outgoing MD & CEO of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Rajesh Gopinathan in response to a TOI question on whether his accelerated exit was due to any dissonance with the leadership of the company’s board.
Gopinathan’s sudden exit after just a year into his second five-year term as the CEO of the IT behemoth caught investors and analysts off guard. Several brokerages — including Morgan Stanley, Citi and Motilal Oswal — said the resignation was surprising.
Before the stock market opened for trading on Friday, TCS had Gopinathan (52) and his successor K Krithivasan (58) address the media on the abrupt change. Shares of TCS opened more than 1% down, but recouped the losses to close a marginal 0.2% down at Rs 3,179 apiece on the BSE.

On the timing of his exit, Gopinathan said he firmed up his decision a week ago even though he had been having discussions with TCS chairman N Chandrasekaran off and on about moving on. Gopinathan had taken over the reins from Chandrasekaran in February 2017 when the latter was elevated to the chairman’s position.

Gopinathan’s first five-year term as TCS CEO ended last year and he was reappointed for another five years till February 2027. “Till a week back, it was all-consuming, and now over the past 48 hours, it’s been completely liberating,” said Gopinathan, who started his career with the Tata Group in April 1996. He joined TCS from Tata Industries in 2001.
“I have no clue what I’m going to do (in the future). I never wrote my resume after campus. Tata and TCS have been integral to who I am. And whatever I will do, they will be an integral part of my life in the future too.”

On being asked by TOI whether he would take up an advisory role in the Tata Group, Gopinathan said he used to hate advises of all forms when he was in an operational role. But his respect for them is exponentially growing. “I’ll see whether something comes out of that but as of now, I have no plans.”
Gopinathan’s employment contract with TCS requires him to give a six-month notice when resigning. This period ends on September 15, after which Krithivasan will assume the CEO’s role.

Krithivasan said he will work with Gopinathan over the next few months to understand all parts of the business and that he doesn’t intend to make any dramatic changes to the organisation’s existing strategy. “It is a continuum. It is not that we come up with a new strategy or new set of priorities at TCS as every CEO changes,” said Krithivasan, who will be one of the oldest CEOs to take charge at the helm of the company.

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