U.S. court's decision on B-1 Visa hurts Narayana Murthy

Infosys Technologies Chief Mentor and outgoing Chairman N. R. Narayana Murthy, who chaired his last annual general body meeting here on Saturday, said that he felt sad at Infosys being issued a subpoena by a grand jury in the U.S. on the B-1 visa issue.

“I feel sad that Infosys, voted most often as India's most respected company during 1995-2011, has been issued a subpoena. The issue will be decided on its merits in due course,” Mr. Murthy, who co-founded the company, said in his speech to the shareholders at the 30th AGM.

His comment follows the legal notice issued to the company by a district court in Texas over alleged violation of visa rules.

“However, this is the time to continue and strengthen our well-acclaimed and much respected focus on embracing meritocracy, transparency and openness of discussions and consultations with competent colleagues…This is the path I have walked during the last 30 years at Infosys with much peace of mind and a clear conscience,” said Mr. Murthy, who is set to retire on August 20.

Strong board

Four new directors have been inducted into the board of directors of Infosys, an announcement made on Saturday said. They include Chief Financial Officer V. Balakrishnan, Senior Vice-President and Head (Manufacturing, Product Engineering, Product Lifecycle and Engineering Solutions) B. G. Srinivas and Senior Vice-President and Head-Banking and Capital Markets and Strategic Global Sourcing Ashok Vemuri.

Besides, the board has inducted non-Executive Director at Unilever, Novartis AG and General Electric Ann Fudge as the additional director. “While Ms. Fudge's term starts from October 1, the appointment of the other three comes into effect immediately,” Co-chairman of Infosys Kris Gopalakrishnan said.

Commenting on these appointments, Mr. Narayana Murthy said that with the addition of four directors, the board would be the finest and strongest that Infosys ever had.

One more quits

Meanwhile, Mr. Gopalakrishnan announced that Senior Vice-president (Communications, Media and Entertainment, Global Sales, Alliance and Marketing) at Infosys Subash Dhar had decided to quit. “He has told us that he would like to look at a start-up and wants to be entrepreneur.”

Saturday was also the last day in office for Director (Human Resources) T. V. Mohandas Pai, who has resigned. Another co-founder K. Dinesh, who was director and Head Communication Design Group, Information Systems and Quality and Productivity, has not sought re-appointment.

PTI reports:

Mr. Murthy said there should be a thrust on communicating the importance of values at every level in the organisation, besides benchmarking with “the global best in every dimension, encourage innovation at every level to perform at global levels and create a worthwhile vision and improve every day.''

“This is how our mantra of focussing on speed, imagination and excellence in execution will take this company very far,” he said.

Mr. Murthy founded Infosys in 1981 along with six others with a paltry capital of $250. The country's second biggest software services company now generates revenues in excess of $6 billion and has an employee strength of 1.31 lakh.

Noting that the company is completing 30 years of its operations this year, he said, “Going from the first major client win of Data Basics Corporation to 600-plus clients today, and from a small rented office space in Pune to over 60 development centres worldwide occupying over 27 million sq. ft. has been exhilarating as well as humbling.”

Earlier, Mr. Murthy described himself as an average guy with ‘many below-average attributes', and said his life story should encourage ordinary people who wanted to make a difference in the world.

“As I close, I thank God, this country, this world, family, relatives and friends for helping me — an average person with many below-average attributes — to add whatever little value I have to this country and to the world,” Mr. Murthy said.

The software industry icon, who was given a standing ovation at his address on the company's AGM, said, “My life story should be a confidence booster for every average person in the world that he or she can indeed make a difference at least in a small way to this world.”

He said the Infosys journey had been an integral part of his life.

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