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Infosys after Vishal Sikka's exit: Why Nandan Nilekani can make a comeback as Infosys CEO

India Today logo India Today 24-08-2017
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Now that Infosys is looking for a CEO after Vishal Sikka's resignation, many are suggesting that Nandan Nilekani should take up the job. The Infosys co-founder who has worked in different sectors, ranging from corporate to bureaucracy, has already served Infosys as CEO from March 2002 to April 2017.

Recent additions to the list of supporters rooting for Nilekani are the 12 fund managers representing institutional investors in Infosys. Investor advisory firm Institutional Investor Advisory Services (IiAs) had recently made similar suggestions.

Complete coverage on Infosys crisis

Even Infosys shares fared well in comparison to the past few days on cues that Nilekani might make a comeback. With the growing support for the Infosys co-founder, here's why he could be the man for the job:

Markets trust Nilekani

Infosys stocks tanked 15 per cent two straight trading sessions last week, wiping out Rs 34,000 crore of its wealth forever. With chances that Nandan Nilekani might once again assume the office of Infosys CEO raised investors' hopes, as company stocks rose two per cent, or 17 points , on Bombay Stock Exchange. Infosys shares worth Rs 18,901 lakh were traded with the stock seeing 47,758 trades today.

READ: MFs want Nandan Nilekani back at Infosys in ‘suitable capacity’

Even institutional investors are hopeful that Nilekani might be able to turn things around for good in Infosys. As many as 12 fund managers from institutional investors in the company have reportedly suggested bringing Nilekani back on the board of the IT major to restore confidence of stakeholders and help resolve the ongoing debacle.

They said Nilekani enjoys confidence of various stakeholders, including customers, shareholders and employees. This is the second major pitch for Nilekani's return. The first was from IiAS. The investor advisory firm said the co-founder should be brought back on the Infosys board as its non-executive chairman.

Inside man

Nandan Nilekani is not only one of the co-founders who formed India's biggest IT company, but he has also been the CEO of Infosys for five years. He understands the company better in terms of its workforce, business, and culture. He also holds a keen understanding of the technology sector and businesses Infosys deals with.

Also Infosys will find it tough to find a competent CEO from outside the company, given high probability of regular tussles between an outsider and the co-founders. Infosys co-founders are known to keep a close watch on the company operations, and Nilekani is the closest they can get to a satisfactory CEO.

Moreover, Chairperson NR Narayana Murthy has been known to listen to what Nilekani has to say. This might help keep the tussles, even if they arise, between the board and co-founders under check.

Man of many talents

From corporate to bureaucracy to politics, this man has done it all. After wrapping up his stint at Infosys as CEO, Nandan Nilekani went on to work as the Chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) under Manmohan Singh government, where he headed the biggest biometric identification project in the world.

Infosys after Vishal Sikka's exit: Why Nandan Nilekani can make a comeback as Infosys CEO © Provided by India Today Infosys after Vishal Sikka's exit: Why Nandan Nilekani can make a comeback as Infosys CEO

He even tried his luck in politics in 2014 - he became a member of Indian National Congress - but it was short-lived. He later went on to join a committee, on a call from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to find ways how to make digital economy a possibility in India. So he already has worked well with opposing factions.

As of now, he invests in start-ups and newbie firms. This shows his interest in supporting new technologies and those who propagate it, something which Infosys can too benefit from.

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