Narayana Murthy defends changes at Infosys, mum on 'brilliant' son Rohan Murty's future

Written by fe Bureau | Mysore | Updated: Jan 11 2014, 23:23pm hrs
Narayana MurthyWith NR Narayana Murthy at helm, Infosys is back to being IT bellwether.
Infosys Ltd executive chairman executive chairman NR Narayana Murthy vigorously defended the frequent changes at Indias second-largest IT services company like the creation of two new president posts and a surprise decision to disband the Executive Council as measures that would instill stability for the firm. He also dropped enough hints that the next Infosys CEO could be from within the company.

Ever since Murthy came back to Infosys on June 1, 2013, tumultuous changes were witnessed at the IT firm the creation of a new governing structure and more importantly exits of senior executives, which also included two board members.

Providing the rationale behind these changes at the announcement of the quarterly results on Friday, Murthy said, When we had got this internal report on expanding the Executive Council, we went ahead and did it. But later when we decided on the two presidents, we realised that the new structure is such that they will have their own governance structure and the Executive Council will become superfluous. The elimination of the Executive Council is not going to create any issue in the future growth trajectory of the corporation. bit the bullet and took a tough decision, he added.

The council had over 20 members and this will cease to exist from April 1, 2014. The two new presidents appointed for Infosys are BG Srinivas and UB Pravin Rao with responsibilities divided between them and reporting to CEO SD Shibulal.

Murthy said that Infosys is a large organisation and undertaking the desired changes would take time, adding, We are bringing about a transformational change. However, these frequent changes has brought a sense of disquiet as there is already a core team attached to the chairmans office and the new structure creates another duality within Infosys. Responding to an analysts query, Murthy said: It is good for them. It is good for us. They have added value to our company. We wish them good luck. We are adding value to the industry by providing good leaders to the world.

Murthy said the decision on creation of dual president post was taken by a group of senior executives who felt it was the best structure under the current environment. Terming the exits as painful for the organisation, Murthy said Infosys had enough depth in leadership to fill in these gaps. We are very confident that this company has a strong cadre of leadership.

Without being drawn into the debate about whether company would opt for an internal candidate or external person, Murthy only said, We would like one of them to be the next CEO, though the final decision will be left to the nomination committee, in which I do not have a role.

The next CEO of Infosys would be a sort of first for the company in terms of a non-founder heading the company, though there is a view that an external candidate could be a strong possibility, though its chances seem remote with the possibility of a culture clash.

The two presidents role helps the nominations committee to create an internal platform of a candidate that could be looked at by them to decide on the next CEO. In the event that there is an outside candidate who will be chosen as the CEO of the company, this is not for me to decide. But its for the nominations committee, Murthy said.

Non-committal about Rohans future in firm

Murthy remained non-committal on the future role of his son Rohan Murty. Rohan is assisting me in my office and is doing a brilliant job. But what he wants to do is the decision thats left to him considering that he is 30-year-old. What position he will hold in Infosys, thats not for me to decide. All those are completely speculative, he said. Though when pressed further about his sons future role he said, Right now he is on leave from Harvard and certainly my understanding is that, he would like to go back to Harvard at an appropriate time. But who knows he may change his mind. He may do something else in India. I cannot comment on what he will do in the future.