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A logo of Larsen and Toubro is pictured outside its Corporate office in Mumbai. L&T now faces the difficult task of picking a CEO for newly acquired Mindtree with strategic concerns in mind.Reuters file

Engineering giant Larsen & Toubro's (L&T) pick for the post of Mindtree's chief executive officer may also reveal the Mumbai-based company's plans for the future of the newly acquired IT services company, reports suggest. The $19-billion Mumbai-based construction behemoth already has an IT services subsidiary in L&T Infotech. There has been considerable market speculation about its future ever since reports of L&T's interest in Mindtree began appearing in the media.

Larsen & Toubro's (L&T) open offer for Bengaluru-based mid-size IT services firm has concluded, oversubscribed 1.16 times, taking the engineering major's ownership well beyond the originally intended 66­ per cent. This has prompted reports of CEO Rostow Ravanan's imminent exit triggering suggestions that L&T may soon bring in its own CEO.

L&T is evaluating at least two internal candidates and one external candidate for the top post, media reports say. However, the pick could also reflect the L&T management's strategic views on the future of Mindtree, which clocked $1 billion in revenue in the 2018-19 financial year. Industry observers believe the L&T will have to choose as the boss of the company whether the priority for Mindtree should be to consolidate its position in the market, achieve rapid growth, or diversify the business.

Mindtree Ltd
Office of Mindtree Ltd.Wikimedia

Rajeev Mehta, a former president of Cognizant, who joined L&T with the mandate of increasing IT services' share in L&T's overall revenue, is leading the race, according to a report on the Business Standard website. When Mehta left Cognizant in May it was expected he would help the L&T to oversee the integration of Mindtree with its other IT portfolio firms. "Mehta has seen the complete growth cycle of Cognizant, which has reached a revenue level of $16 billion. In that sense, he has the ability to scale up L&T's IT play in the coming years," the report quoted an unidentified IT outsourcing adviser as saying.

L&T is also learnt to have reached out to Anjan Lahiri, former CEO of Birlasoft who is also a co-founder and former CEO for IT services business at Mindtree. Lahiri quit as managing director and CEO at Birlasoft in May after piloting the merger and demerger process with KPIT Technologies.

"Lahiri stepped down due to personal reasons. But, he is also being evaluated as a probable candidate as he can fill in the absence of Mindtree's founders and can give a lot of credibility to L&T's efforts of integration," the report said quoting another unidentified source. Yet another probable candidate is Parthasarathi Chatterjee, who heads L&T's oil and gas business.

Last week, the Mindtree board approved the appointment of L&T's nominees — Mumbai-based firm's CEO & MD, SN Subrahmanyan, and CFO Ramamurthi Shankar Raman.