August 18 or Friday was a busy day at Infosys. The IT giant woke up to the news of its CEO and MD Vishal Sikka’s resignation from the post. The reason given by Sikka for his resignation was increasingly personal attacks which made it difficult to continue. “It was difficult to deal with the continuous allegations and noise regarding Rajiv Bansal separation, and many other issues. I realised that it was taking a heavy toll on not only the organization but also me. So, I felt that it is an undeniable situation and should come to an end,” said Sikka during the Infosys press conference.
It didn’t come as a surprise that Sikka in his address without naming targeted NR Narayana Murthy for the decision. When Murthy himself had stepped down as the chairman of Infosys in 2011, he had not only lamented on his separation from the firm but also underlined the parameters on which future leaders were to be tested, including income margins. In an article titled ‘Goodbye, folks. March on with values…’ which featured in Infosys Annual Report 2010-11, Murthy wrote, “The ability to share the limelight with one’s colleagues, the ability to step aside and give opportunity to younger people when they want that fame, power and glory, and the ability to provide a safety net of advice for them is an important aspect of strengthening the future of an organisation. It is not easy to give up power, particularly when you have been the object of so much adulation.”
“Goodbye, folks. March on with values…”, Murthy wrote: “Strategy is about ensuring sustained differentiation in a changing environment for better net income margins. Differentiation without better net income margins is meaningless. In my opinion, operating margins and earnings before taxes, depreciation and amortization are not appropriate measures. In fact, the best measure of differentiation is the per-capita free cash flow generated,” he had added.
Other than income Murthy said that these factors should be focused by leaders: an enduring value system, open-mindedness, a pluralistic and meritocratic approach, and practicing speed, imagination and excellence in execution. Leaders have to focus on creating such an environment.