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Murthy says his job at Infosys is done, new CEO to get free rein

LiveMint logoLiveMint 12-06-2014 Anirban Sen

Bangalore: N.R. Narayana Murthy, co-founder and chairman of Infosys Ltd, who on Thursday exited from his executive role, marking the end of the founder-led era at the company, said his work at Infosys was complete.

“When the board requested me to come back last year, they gave me two mandates. One, to assist in finding an excellent successor to Shibulal. The second mandate they gave me was to create a strong foundation of future growth in the company. I believe by and large I have fulfilled both these obligations,” Murthy, 67, told reporters at a briefing.

Last year, the board led by ICICI Bank Ltd non-executive chairman K.V. Kamath asked Murthy to return to Infosys after two years of underperformance, during which it missed its revenue guidance several times and conceded its bellwether tag to faster-growing rivals such as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd and US-based Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp.

In the past 12 months, Murthy, who worked on reviving the fortunes of the former poster boy of India’s $118-billion information technology industry, started cutting costs, improving the strength of its sales teams and protecting the company’s top 50 customer accounts.

Murthy led an organizational overhaul that saw a dozen top executives leaving, smaller sales teams and increased automation in several services.

“On the second responsibility, as I said at the AGM (annual general meeting) in last June, the task (of turning around) would take at least 36 months to yield results,” said Murthy, who founded Infosys 33 years ago with six others in a small apartment in Pune.

Murthy said the appointment of Vishal Sikka as the new chief executive will not disrupt the turnaround timeline that he had set last year.

“I believe I have brought this second mandate to a shape that the successor of Shibulal can run with. So therefore, I have the satisfaction that I have fulfilled both mandates that K.V. Kamath and the board members had given. That’s how I believe this decision (of stepping down from executive role) was taken,” he added.

Murthy also said Sikka, the company’s first non-founder chief executive, will have a free hand in running the company.

“I am sure at an appropriate time he will come up with a time-frame (for the turnaround). So, let us not do backseat driving, let us not make any hasty statements,” said Murthy.

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