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NRN logs out, Infosys chooses CEO from outside its ranks

Deepa Kurup
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Vishal Sikka, former SAP AG board member, gets 5-year term

N.R. Narayana Murthy, executive chairman, Infosys (right) and Vishal Sikka, CEO and MD-designatein Bangalore on Thursday.- photo: G.r.n. somashekar
N.R. Narayana Murthy, executive chairman, Infosys (right) and Vishal Sikka, CEO and MD-designatein Bangalore on Thursday.- photo: G.r.n. somashekar

Vishal Sikka, known globally as the brain behind German major SAP’s flagship data analytics product HANA, is the new Infosys CEO. The country's second largest IT exporter named him to the top post on Thursday, making him the first non-founder member to head the company.

Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy, who announced the end of his second year-long post-retirement innings on Thursday, said that by handing the company into “Sikka's able hands” he had completed a key mandate entrusted to him when he returned from retirement last year to “build a desirable Infosys”. Putting an end to speculation over a larger role for his son, Rohan Murthy, Infosys announced that his appointment was co-terminus and he would exit the company on June 14.

The CEO announcement brings to a close a tightly watched CEO hunt. The new CEO has a five-year tenure and will take over on August 1.

Along with Mr. Murthy, another co-founder S. Gopalakrishnan will also step down as executive chairman; however, both will continue in non-executive posts on the Board till October 10 to “ensure smooth transition”. Following this, Mr. Murthy will be Chairman Emeritus. Mr. Shibulal and Srinath Batni will step down from the board on July 31. Infosys president U.B. Pravin Rao has been elevated to the post of Chief Operating Officer. When queried on the impact around 11 executive-level exits in the one year since he returned, Mr. Murthy said: “Take my definitive answer that there has been no impact.”

The California-based Mr. Sikka said that he would continue to be based out of there. However, he would be spending a “substantial part of his time in Bangalore hereon.”

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