Salil Parekh didn’t get much time to settle in after taking over the helm of Infosys Ltd. Since becoming chief executive officer in January, the 53-year-old has crisscrossed three continents to meet with customers and employees to get his hands around the challenges facing India’s iconic tech-services giant. He talked with 48 clients in his first three months – and he’s determined to see every single one face to face in the next two quarters.
He’s already making tough decisions. He says Infosys has to sacrifice profit margins now by investing in advanced technology and skills in order to capture the opportunities of the ahead. That includes pumping more money into technologies such as the Internet of Things, retraining employees, localizing its workforce in the U.S. and building up the sales staff.
“To build the future Infosys, we have to make those investments now,” says Parekh, perched on a couch in the office he clearly hasn’t used much. On his sparse desk are three photos of his family, a laptop and small statue of the elephant-head Ganesha, the god of new beginnings. “If we don’t do that now, the real concern is that we won’t be relevant to our clients in the future.”
It’s a message that may unsettle investors. On Monday, Infosys shares tumbled after the IT services giant said it expected operating margins to be 22 percent to 24 percent, lower than the previous year’s. The stock is trading at about the same level it did two years ago.