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Phaneesh Murthy has taken over as the MD & CEO of Patni Computer Systems, replacing K Jeya Kumar who was the highest-paid IT executive in the country for the 2009-10 period (the pay packets of CEOs for last year is not yet in public domain).

The key challenge for Murthy will be to see through a business consolidation, so that iGate and Patni can reap benefits of synergies from one of the biggest M&A deals in the Indian IT/ITES space. Murthy has previously supervised the integration of Quintant when it was snapped by iGate, but his success in making it work here will define whether he can etch his name among the big shots of Indian IT business.

VCCircle had put this as a distinct possibility last January. An Australian citizen, K Jeya Kumar was brought in as a professional CEO by the founder of Patni Computers, Narendra Patni, with huge fanfare over two years ago. For the year ended December, 2009, Jeya Kumar’s total remuneration (not counting the stock options) was Rs 12.19 crore ($2.7 million), much ahead of Wipro chief Azim Premji who pocketed Rs 7.86 crore in 2009-10.

Incidentally, Jeya Kumar’s pay was even more than that of Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer who was paid $1.26 million or nearly Rs 6 crore, for the fiscal to June, 2009.

After iGate snapped Patni Computer Systems early this year, it was an obvious question as to what leg room Jeya Kumar would have carried, given a hands-on IT management background of Murthy. So, the move is more or less in expected lines.

See our earlier special report on Indian IT’s ‘Other’ Murthy:

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