By ZeroHour News
Bangalore, June 1 Co-founder of India’s IT bellwether Infosys Ltd N.R. Narayana Murthy Saturday returned as executive chairman for a second innings to steer the company’s fortunes in challenging times.
“This will be my second innings at the company. It is exciting to be back, though somewhat a new challenge. It is a unique opportunity to add value to the company again,” Murthy told reporters at a hurriedly convened press meet in his sprawling green campus on the city’s outskirts.
Earlier Saturday, the $7.4-billion global software major took the industry and the market by surprise by appointing the 67-year-old Murthy as executive chairman of its board 22 months after he retired and became the company’s chairman emeritus for life.
During his five-year term, Murthy will draw a token compensation of Re.1 per year.
“It is not my strategy (to come back) but that of the board and the company led by (chief executive) S.D. Shibulal. I decided to accept the request of the board after I discussed it with the family,” Murthy said.
Admitting that the three-decade-old company was going through challenging times, Murthy said there was a need to be optimistic as it had overcome tougher and bigger challenges in the past.
“We have built this company through hard work, sacrifice, intelligence and execution from a small-room apartment in Pune in 1981 to a global software major with about 150,000 employees, presence in 30 countries across the world and got listed on Nasdaq/NYSE,” Murthy recalled.
Murthy said the need of the day was to focus on employees, take quick, tough and firm decisions and communicate with clarity and speed to exceed expectations of its customers and investors.
“A few weeks ago (May 4), outgoing chairman K.V. Kamath requested me to return to Infosys as executive chairman. I pondered over the issue. I have spent most of my adult life with a single-minded focus on the company and worked with the same passion and enthusiasm till the day (August 20, 2011) I retired as I did on the first day in 1981,” Murthy said.
“This calling was sudden, unexpected and most unusual. But, then, Infosys is my middle child. I have put aside my plans and accepted this responsibility,” Murthy said in statement later.
He added that he would lead the board and assist the chief executive (Shibulal) in implementing the strategy with speed and alacrity.
In a regulatory filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), the company said Kamath would step down from the board and would be an independent director from Saturday.
“Murthy’s election as a director (for five years) will be placed for the consideration of the shareholders in the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Bangalore June 15,” Infosys said in the filing.
Murthy had retired on reaching 65 years in 2011 and high profile banker Kamath assumed the post as non-executive chairman with co-founder Krish Gopalakrishnan as co-chairman.
The decision to bring Murthy back into the executive leadership was taken by the company’s board at an emergent meeting earlier in the day.
Welcoming the move, Kamath said that Murthy’s entrepreneurial and leadership record and the long experience he has had as a technology pioneer makes him eminently qualified to lead the company and provide strategic direction at this point in time.
Murthy will also focus on large projects in application, development and management, IT infrastructure, remote infrastructure management and guide the company’s 3.0 version strategy.
“It is always good to invite someone like him (Murthy) keeping in mind the interests of internal (employees) and external shareholders (investors). Institution comes first and age comes later in a particular context,” Kamath added.
Co-chairman S. Gopalakrishnan will be re-designated as executive vice-chairman and would focus on key client relationships and broader industry issues.
Shibulal will continue as the chief executive and managing director.
Like Murthy, Gopalakrishnan and Shibulal also requested the board to allow them draw a compensation of Re.1 per year.
Gopalakrishnan will focus on key client relationships, broader industry issues and provide global thought leadership. He will also preside over the board meetings in the absence of the executive chairman (Murthy).
Shibulal will also be responsible for achieving the business strategy through an agreed executed plan.
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