India's Wipro slides after CFO Dalal resigns in latest high-profile exit

FILE PHOTO: Wipro Ltd logo is seen displayed in this illustration taken, April 10, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Shares of Wipro slid almost 3% on Friday, a day after long-serving CFO Jatin Dalal resigned in a surprise move, the latest senior level exit at the fourth-largest Indian IT services provider.

Dalal's exit follows those of Chief Operations Officer Sanjeev Singh and several senior vice presidents as Wipro wades through a years-long turnaround of its business.

"The loss of key leaders continuing into the fourth year of turnaround will not be viewed favorably by investors," analysts at Kotak Institutional Equities wrote in a note.

The company said on Thursday Dalal was resigning to pursue other opportunities after more than two decades with the company, and will be replaced by Aparna Iyer, who was most recently with the company's cloud services unit.

To be sure, churn is common in the tech industry in India. Top Indian IT firm Tata Consultancy Services saw CEO Rajesh Gopinathan quit in March, and Infosys veteran Mohit Joshi is set to join Tech Mahindra as CEO. Cognizant Technology Solutions in January named former Infosys president S Ravi Kumar as CEO.

However, analysts say the moves at Wipro is a cause for worry as the firm is "struggling in its turnaround effort, has a weak mega deal pipeline and is vulnerable to vendor consolidation."

IT firms are also on the backfoot amid re-emerging concerns about a high interest rate environment in the United States, adding to worries about deal closures delays, order rampdowns and cancellations.

Wipro has already forecast revenue from IT services would remain largely flat for the current quarter as clients cut spending.

Shares of the company hit a near three-week low after news of the CFO change announced Thursday. They are up 7% so far this year, underperforming a 15% rise in the Nifty IT index.

(Reporting by Chris Thomas and Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee)

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