Narayana Murthy & team deserve salute

G.S. Vijay Kumar By G.S. Vijay Kumar, 25th Nov 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

This is for the first time that a group of promoters led by N R Narayana Murthy, after successfully leading the company to whooping heights, have exited & passed on the management of the company to a new set of leaders. This is unprecedented in India.

Narayana Murthy & team deserve salute

This is for the first time that a group of promoters led by N R Narayana Murthy, after successfully leading the company to whooping heights, have exited & passed on the management of the company to a new set of leaders.

8th October 2014, was a very special day for corporate India. N R Narayana Murthy & Kris Gopalakrishnan, the last of the original promoters of India’s leading Information Technology behemoth Infosys Limited, relinquished their responsibilities as Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively. They handed over the management of the company to a new set of professionals. Earlier, Vishal Sikka, the first non-founder CEO of Infosys Limited, took over the affairs of the company as its Managing Director in June 2014. The new Board of Infosys does not have any of its original promoters. This marks the entry of a new generation of leadership to Infosys and the exit of the promoters.

Narayana Murthy, described as the father of Indian IT sector by Time Magazine due to his contribution to the outsourcing in India, and company comprising Nandan Nilekani, S D Shibulal, N S Raghavan, K Dinesh, Kris Gopalakrishnan & Ashok Arora jointly founded Infosys on 2nd July 1981 with a capital of Rs 10000 after resigning from the then Patni Computer Systems. They started operations from a small garage in Model Colony, Pune before shifting their headquarters to Bangalore in 1983. When they finally passed on the baton to the new team after 33 years, the market capitalisation of Infosys had touched a mammoth US $ 38 Billion or Rs 225000 crore.

It is indeed a historic day in the Indian Corporate world. Never have we witnessed promoters of a company handing over the very company they founded to a new set of professionals. This is an unprecedented move, hitherto unknown to us. We have seen umpteen promoters inducting their children or relatives to the company’s top management or to the Board before eventually handing over the company to them. This is for the first time that a group of promoters, after successfully leading the company to whooping heights, have passed on the management of the company to a new set of leaders.

Leave alone big businessmen & leading industrialists, we have even come across a mediocre professional chief executive of a Pune based company, who despite messing up the operations and bringing the company to disrepute and virtual closure, couldn't resist the temptation of inducting his own son to the company’s management.
When viewed against such a backdrop, Narayana Murthy’s action is all the more significant. He is the first and perhaps the only promoter who didn't succumb to such temptations. Narayana Murthy did not induct his son Rohan to the Board of Infosys, as is the accepted practice in India. Instead, he allowed his son Rohan to prove his credentials elsewhere. He appointed a team to choose a new leader who would take Infosys forward. There was no automatic entry for Rohan Murthy to the Infosys Board. Narayana Murthy did face criticism when he brought in his son Rohan into the company to assist him during his second term in office. However, such a criticism was unfounded as Murthy was not someone who would flout his principles.

When you think of Narayana Murthy, the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind is “ethics”. There are very few people on this planet who are as upright, truthful, moral, honest, principled and driven by ethics. He not only practices these traits himself but has even driven these values throughout the organisation. These are the reasons why Infosys commands a great respect from investors, analysts, customers, vendors, past and present employees, government, society and various other stakeholders. The organisation has an exemplary image in every corner of this universe. Besides, Infosys has single-handedly created a new model, hope and aspiration for corporate India. It is the only company in India to give away around Rs 50000 crores as stock options to its employees.

Historically, people from the educated middle class were involved in providing professional services like Lawyers, Chartered or Cost Accountants, Doctors, Professors, consultants or working as executives in the private / government sector. The less fortunate ones were working as white collar employees in the private or government sector. Seldom have we seen any executive venturing out as entrepreneurs in the olden days. Narayana Murthy is perhaps the first executive from a middle class background to turn entrepreneur and that too very successfully. In doing so, he not only instilled a sense of confidence in his people but also created wealth for them through honest means. His success has motivated a new generation of executives to take a plunge in business and entrepreneurship. Today, middle class executives can dream to become a successful entrepreneur. This is, inter alia, one of his greatest contributions to middle class India.

G S Vijay Kumar is a senior corporate executive and a columnist.


Ashok Arora, Indian It Sector, Infosys, It Sector, K Dinesh, Kris Gopalakrishnan, Management, N S Raghavan, Nandan Nilekani, Narayana Murthy, S D Shibulal, Vishal Sikka

Meet the author

author avatar G.S. Vijay Kumar
I am a management graduate and have worked as a senior executive for 25 years in the corporate sector.I am a columnist and write on management, Economics and socio-economic topics.

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