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Infosys Swaps Manufacturing, Finance Heads

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The heads of Infosys Ltd's business units serving the finance and manufacturing sectors are swapping jobs, in an indication that both are contenders to take over the chief executive's post when it opens up in 2015.

B.G. Srinivas, global head of manufacturing and engineering services, will head the financial services and insurance operations of India's second-largest software services provider.

Ashok Vemury, who now heads the finance services business, will take on the manufacturing unit's leadership, the company said in a statement on Friday.

The appointments are effective April 1.

The chief executive's post will fall vacant in 2015 when S.D. Shibulal retires, along with Co-Chairman S. Gopalakrishnan.

"They are candidates, but they are not (the) only candidates," Gopalakrishnan told Reuters.

"What we have to do is make sure that for everyone at the leadership position that we give them the opportunity to different parts of the business, different experiences, make sure that they get visibility into the board," he said.

Both Srinivas, 51, and Vemury, 44, are directors of the company.

"It's almost like putting people into non-familiar areas and testing them for the next promotion," said Manik Taneja, senior research analyst at Emkay Global Financial Services, who expressed surprise at the timing of the announcement.

At a time when there is "weakness in demand" the change "could have near-term impact on revenues," said Taneja, who has an 'accumulate' rating on Infosys.

Shibulal and Gopalakrishnan are the last of the co-founders left with the company, which was set up in 1981 by N.R. Narayanamurthy along with Nandan Nilekani, K. Dinesh, N.S. Raghavan and Ashok Arora.

The retirement age for executives is 60 years, according to the company's policy.

Infosys shares closed 0.95 per cent higher at 2,783.25 rupees in a strong Mumbai market.