INTERVIEW – Narayana Murthy

Mr Narayana Murthy

Infosys’ co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy tol Asian Lite that he fulfilled his obligations

Mr Narayana Murthy
Mr Narayana Murthy

Infosys’ co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy, who returned to steer India’s second largest IT bellwether a year ago as executive chairman, is stepping down June 14 and cutting short his second innings by four years because he says he has fulfilled his “obligations”.

“I returned from retirement when the board asked me to assist it in finding an excellent successor to outgoing chief executive S.D. Shibulal and create a strong foundation for the company’s future growth. I believe I fulfilled both the obligations,” Murthy told reporters here Thursday hours after the company announced that Vishal Sikka would be its new chief executive from Aug 1.

Sikka, 47, is a former executive board member of German software product major SAP AG.
The 67-year-old Murthy, who retired from the $8.25-billion company in August 2011 on turning 65 and became chairman emeritus for life, was re-appointed by the board as executive chairman for five years from June 1, 2013.

“Having Sikka on the board is a culmination of the efforts I have put in over the last 12 months. Secondly, as I said at the company’s 32nd annual general meeting (AGM) June 15, 2013, the task of rebuilding the company would take 36 months to yield results in terms of sales, delivery and cost-effectiveness, I will share my views Saturday at the 33rd AGM with shareholders,” Murthy said.

Asserting that he brought the company to a shape from where Sikka would be able to carry on, Murthy said he had the satisfaction of doing the job to the best of his ability and fulfil the mandate the board gave year ago.

Along with Murthy, another co-founder and executive vice-chairman S. Gopalakrishan will step down June 14 to facilitate the smooth transition of responsibilities to the new management under Sikka.

Murthy will be re-designated chairman emeritus from Oct 11 in recognition of his contributions to the company.

Murthy also clarified that there was no impact on the company’s business, operations and client servicing due to changes or exit of a dozen senior executives during the last 12 months.

“We have seen zero perturbation to our operations and its business as usual at Infosys. There has been no impact on customers, employees and how we deliver our software due to the exit of some executives or attrition of many employees,” Murthy claimed.

With Murthy stepping down again, his prodigal son Rohan Murty, whom he brought as his executive assistant, will also leave the company June 14, as his appointment was co-terminus with the executive chairman.

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