In a surprise move, Ashok Soota, the co-founder and executive chairman of mid-sized IT services firm MindTree Ltd, has resigned to form a new venture. Soota, who started MindTree in 1999 with nine other Wipro colleagues, has stated personal reasons for the resignation. Soota has sent his resignation to the board of directors and asked to be relieved by March 31. Soota holds a 11.14% stake in MindTree, the single-largest among the promoters of the firm.

Soota's new venture is expected to be announced after his departure on March 31 and will reportedly be in the IT space only. "The decision to resign is for personal reasons. It is something I have thought about for a few months and arrived at a well-considered conclusion. I will finalize and announce my plans for a new business venture, shortly after my departure from MindTree," said Soota in a statement.

Soota added that transition will not pose any difficulties. MindTree's current top brass includes vice-chairman Subroto Bagchi and CEO and managing director Krishnakumar Natarajan. “MindTree leaders are persons of the finest financial integrity and I am confident of their ability to achieve the company’s goals,” added Soota's statement.

Before co-founding MindTree, Soota was President of Wipro Infotech from 1984 to 1999.  Under his leadership, Wipro’s IT business grew from $2 million in 1984 to $500 million run-rate in 1999. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Roorkee University (now IIT, Roorkee) and an MBA from the Asian Institute of Management, Philippines.

The share price of MindTree was down by 3.47% at the close of trade on Friday, trading at Rs 515.45.

MindTree has been one of the most successful venture capital backed IT firms in India is targeting revenues of $1 billion by 2014. It was founded 11 years ago with initial investments from venture capital firms Walden International and Global Technology Ventures.

While Walden has made a partial exit over the years, it still holds a 9.94% as of December, 2010 in the firm. Global Technology Ventures also holds a 6.64% stake in the firm. It has also attracted other investors like SAIF Partners, Capital International’s PE arm and Franklin Templeton over the years. Nalanda India Fund also currently holds a 9.82% stake in MindTree.

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