In a scenario reminiscent of a full-blown poaching battle within the Indian IT sector, Wipro’s recent lawsuit against two senior executives for joining Cognizant has triggered a countermove by rival IT giant Infosys. The country’s second-largest IT services firm has accused Cognizant of employing “unethical poaching tactics” following the departure of several of its executives to the Nasdaq-listed company.
According to a report on MoneyControl.com, Infosys took a proactive step by sending a written communication to Cognizant after the exit of some of its senior leaders. Three sources familiar with the matter revealed that while non-compete clauses may not be enforceable, Infosys’ communication was intended more as a deterrent.
Since assuming the role of CEO at Cognizant in January, Infosys veteran Ravi Kumar has recruited over twenty executive vice presidents and four senior vice presidents. Notably, many of these new hires have been sourced from both Wipro and Infosys. Over the past year, the two Indian IT giants have collectively witnessed the departure of more than 15 senior-level executives to rival companies.
Among the key executives that Cognizant successfully recruited from Infosys are Anurag Vardhan Sinha, Nageswar Cherukupalli, Narsimha Rao Mannepalli, and Shweta Arora. While the first two have already joined Cognizant, the latter two were reportedly poised to assume roles as the head of delivery and head of consulting. However, Infosys’ intervention in the form of a written communication may have caused a delay in these appointments, as per insider sources.
In response to the intensifying talent war, Wipro has taken legal action by filing suits in both the US and India against its former executives, Mohd Haque and Jatin Dalal, who recently joined Cognizant. The departure of Dalal, who served as Wipro’s veteran CFO, also led to the loss of chief growth officer Stephanie Trautman. In response, Wipro restructured its large deals growth office, placing it directly under the leadership of Chief Executive Thierry Delaporte.
Discussing Dalal’s departure in an interview with ET in October, Delaporte emphasized his vision to “develop communication with a new approach, with a generation who will lead Wipro for the next years.” The ongoing executive reshuffling underscores the competitive dynamics and strategic maneuvering within India’s IT industry as companies seek to secure and retain top talent.