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HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

Vishal Sikka is the new Infosys CEO; Narayana Murthy to step down

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Bangalore, June 12, 2014
First Published: 08:55 IST(12/6/2014) | Last Updated: 13:19 IST(12/6/2014)

Under pressure over the exodus of staff, information technology services major Infosys appointed on Thursday SAP AG executive board member Vishal Sikka as the chief executive officer and managing director (CEO and MD) of the company, ending weeks of suspense.

This is the first time Infosys Ltd, India's second-largest IT services exporter, did not choose one of its founders for the role.

The company, which faces the task to reassure investors after a slew of departures at the top, also announced executive chairman NR Narayana Murthy and executive vice-chairman S Gopalakrishnan will voluntarily step down on Saturday.

In order to facilitate a smooth transition of responsibilities, they will continue on the board till October 10, 2014, as the non-executive chairman and non-executive vice-chairman, respectively.

Murthy will be designated as chairman emeritus from October 11, the company said in a stock market filing on Thursday.

The executive chairman's office will be dissolved on Saturday. Narayana Murthy's son, Rohan Murthy, whose appointment was co-terminus with the executive chairman, will also leave the company on Saturday.

Sikka will be inducted as a full-time director of the board, and CEO and MD (designate) on the same day.

On August 1, he will take over from SD Shibulal, one of the seven engineers who founded Infosys in 1981.

Sikka was, until recently, a member of the executive board of SAP AG, leading all products and driving innovation globally.

He has worked closely with leaders of global companies in building breakthrough business solutions.

At SAP, he was responsible for all products, from traditional and cloud-based applications to technology and platform products including HANA, analytics, mobile and middleware.

In addition, Sikka led multiple initiatives to accelerate innovation and research at SAP. He holds a PhD in computer science from Stanford University, USA.

Commenting on his appointment, Sikka said, "I am honoured to lead Infosys, an iconic company built by pioneers in the technology industry. I look forward to working with and learning from talented Infoscions around the world."

Infosys, which has long been a trend-setter in India's $100 billion-plus outsourcing industry, was under pressure to bring in a new chief executive soon to check an exodus of junior staff and reassure investors after a slew of departures at the top.

At least 11 senior executives left the company since June last year when Narayana Murthy was brought back from retirement to try to regain some of the market share lost to rivals including Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro.

But his return, with his son Rohan as his executive assistant, triggered uncertainty at the top and dimmed the company's status as the employer of choice for young IT workers, with staff leaving at an unprecedented pace.

To turn the tide, the company also elevated 12 leaders to the position of executive vice-president with additional responsibilities.

The remaining members of the chairman's office will take up other responsibilities in the company.

(with Reuters inputs)


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