Jan 15, 2009

Business - All eyes on Vivek Paul after exit from TPG

Deepshikha Monga & Pankaj Mishra

NEW DELHI/BANGALORE: Vivek Paul, former vice chairman of Wipro, quit private equity firm TPG in the last week of December 2008, said an industry
Vivek Paul
player who asked not to be named.

The news comes amid speculation that Paul may be roped in as the new CEO of Satyam Computer Services. The newly-constituted Satyam board had said on Monday that its immediate priority was to appoint an experienced hand as the company CEO.

In fact, Paul’s name was doing the rounds as a possible buyer for Satyam after the botched attempt on December 16 by its now-disgraced promoter to acquire two firms run by his own family.

There were rumours then that Paul would either lead a management buyout of the company or mount a take-over bid through Computer Sciences Corp (CSC) where he is an advisor.

Two persons in the private equity industry confirmed to ET that Mr Paul had indeed quit TPG but one of them was skeptical about Satyam being his next destination.

“Vivek Paul has quit. However, I don’t think his exit from TPG is linked to Satyam,” a person close to Paul, who asked not to be named, said.

ET could not independently verify the reasons for his departure or whether they were in any way linked to Satyam’s search for a new head.

A questionnaire sent to TPG about his exit remained unanswered. An e-mail sent to his official id bounced back, saying the e-mail ID was “no longer operative.”

Paul joined TPG — then called the Texas Pacific Group — in 2005 after he quit Wipro following differences of opinion with promoter chairman Azim Premji.

As president and CEO of Wipro Technologies and vice-chairman of Wipro, Paul is credited with growing Wipro into a billion-dollar firm from a $150-million company that he joined in 1999. He has been named among the most respected CEOs and global business influentials by global publications.

During the time of his exit from Wipro, Paul was tipped to be among the highest-paid executives in India.

Before joining Wipro, Paul worked at consulting firm
Bain & Co and at Pepsico in their M&A area. He worked with General Electric for 10 years, running its Global Computerised Tomography Scanner business. He was also the president and CEO of the joint venture between Wipro and GE.

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