The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) on Monday named Infosys chief operating officer U.B. Pravin Rao as chairman, and Rekha M. Menon, chairman and senior managing director, Accenture in India, as vice chairperson for 2020-21.

The announcements were made at the industry body’s first-ever executive council meeting via video conferencing because of the national lockdown in light of the Covid-19 crisis. Rao, who was Nasscom vice chairman in 2019-20, is taking over from Keshav Murugesh, Group CEO, WNS Global Services.

Image : Nasscom

Rao acknowledged that the IT industry was passing through challenging times because of the “unprecedented situation”. “However, the Indian IT industry has time and again proven its resilience, and I have no doubt that this time too, we will emerge stronger and wiser,” he said in a release.

He added that while everyone adjusted to a new normal, he hoped to continue “the great work that Nasscom has been doing in transforming the industry and making it relevant in this digital era. I believe that our industry, more than ever, needs a focussed approach towards building resilience, upskilling is workforce and contributing to our country’s growth, and I’m excited to be a part of this journey with Nasscom.”

An Infosys veteran, Rao served as the software major’s interim CEO after Vishal Sikka quit in September 2017 before handing over charge to current CEO Salil Parekh in January 2018.

 Rekha M. Menon, chairman and senior managing director at Accenture in India.
Rekha M. Menon, chairman and senior managing director at Accenture in India.
Image : Narendra Bisht

Meanwhile, Menon, who has shattered many a glass ceiling over the years, said she was deeply honoured and looked forward to working with the industry body and its leadership to “ensure that our industry remains innovative and agile, as it unlocks opportunities, navigates challenges, and catalyses sustainable, positive impact in our communities in the future”.

Menon, a regular on Fortune India’s Most Powerful Women in business list (she was at No. 16 in 2019), began her career with erstwhile heavy vehicle manufacturer Eicher Goodearth, after topping the 1981 batch of the then Xavier Labour Relations Institute (now renamed Xavier School of Management). This was followed by a stint at truck-maker Ashok Leyland where she was the first woman on the shop floor. She has been with Accenture since 2004.

Outgoing chairman Murugesh said future-proofing Nasscom will ensure the organisation remains relevant in an ever-changing business environment. “During my tenure, I had the privilege of working alongside the government and some of the best minds in the industry to position India as a global hub for digital solutions, innovation and future-ready talent. I take great pride in the industry’s response and Nasscom’s role in working with various stakeholders on work-from-home solutions as well as providing technology solutions in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak. Much has to be done in the days ahead to help tide over this crisis and we must stay agile,” he said.

The newly appointed leadership along with President Debjani Ghosh, will lead the industry body to carry out its wide array of objectives for the coming year in order to achieve their 2025 vision for the industry, the release said.

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