Minutes after Infosys co-founder N. R. Narayana Murthy formally announced his ‘second innings’ at Infosys, the IT outsourcing pioneer faced a barrage of queries, ranging from his estimation of the financial situation at Infosys to his vision, and future plans.
Addressing reporters on the sidelines of a press conference here, he spoke passionately about what motivated him to return, what strategies he would adopt in his new role, and why he chose to appoint his son to help him tackle the task at hand.
On the comeback
K. V. Kamath met me on May 4, and told me that he wanted me to return to add value to the company. I was in a dilemma, as I had decided that after retirement I would do things that excite me in the company of youngsters, which excites me most. After discussing with my family, I decided that I must return to add value to Infosys. The only motivation for me to embark on this journey at the current stage in my life is to see Infosys achieve the dreams I have for it.
On ‘adding value’
Right now, it has been less than five hours since the board decided, so it is important for me not to pass judgments and come up with ideas without studying the whole issue. The value I will add will be in terms of ideas, in terms of helping the CEO implement those ideas, and decisions with a sense of alacrity and in striving for excellence here. Nothing really needs to change here.
Moreover, the company is at a unique juncture: we have earned a place at the high table by pioneering this global services model, and now we have to do everything to make it work.
On son and succession
Rohan [Murthy] is part of an extraordinary group of youngsters I have been working with over the last 2-3 years.
I realised the fastest way to be more effective here is to bring a part of that team with me, which is why Mr. Rohan has been appointed as my executive assistant.
I would not read too much into this move, except that he is an idealistic young boy and wants to help me here. My entire family has a deep emotional connect with the company, my middle child, and that is why he is here. He will enable me to be more effective — by taking on roles such as data collection and analysis.
On the founder-CEO model
It has been seven years since I stepped down from an executive position. Then there was Nandan Nilekani and Kris (S. Gopalakrishnan). When Mr. Kris left as CEO, the company was frowning at 25 per cent, far above the industry average. So, it is not at all fair to imply that the founder-CEOs have not done well. Even the current Managing Director and CEO S. D. Shibulal has done extremely well in some testing times, and is a very highly rated leader at Infosys.