India's third largest IT firm Wipro could extend the tenure of its chief executive officer TK Kurien by at least one year. Kurien's current five-year term will expire in January next year.
The move may curtail speculation about impending appointment of the new head to Wipro. Recently, the reports about Wipro looking for a new CEO had surfaced after it promoted three executives as presidents and roped in Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) veteran Abid Ali Neemuchwala as its chief operating officer earlier this year.
The expert said the extension of Kurien's term will provide the company's chairman, Azim Premji, and the board more time to scout for a new CEO.
"Will (Kurien) stay in February 2016 or December 2016 or January 2017? The answer is yes... (Kurien) is not going any time soon," an executive familiar with the matter told Livemint.
In April, Wipro had elevated Rishad Premji, the eldest son of promoter Azim Premji, to the company board as a wholetime director, effective from 1 May.
Industry watchers had speculated that the elevation of Rishad was a step towards grooming him to assume the top role at a later stage although Azim Premji had always said that Rishad would not be appointed the chief executive.
However, Wipro board's three-member nominations committee hasn't finalised the extension of Kurien's tenure. But the nominations panel headed by Ashok S Ganguly and independent directors Narayanan Vaghul and William Arthur Owens will meet in January, and is expected to extend Kurien' term by "at least a year".
"This is the general understanding for now (of Kurien staying for at least another year). (But) it finally is the call of the nominations committee, and they should make it public early next year," said another source close to the developments.
"Any such decision will be taken by the board of directors of Wipro Ltd based on the recommendation of the nominations committee and will be communicated to the stock exchanges," said a spokesman for Wipro.
Some experts said that the extension of Kurien's current tenure highlights the "confidence" kept by the board in him. The extension will make Kurien the longest serving Wipro CEO since 1981.
"Kurien has done a good job in not only espousing Wipro's values, but also guiding the company through the market place digital transformation," said Ray Wang, founder of Constellation Research Inc. -- a technology research and advisory firm.