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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Murthy 2.0 a year old, but challenges persist

Manu P Toms, Hindustan Times  Bangalore, June 03, 2014
First Published: 00:17 IST(3/6/2014) | Last Updated: 13:55 IST(3/6/2014)

One year into the role he took up as a back-again saviour for the company he founded three decades ago, NR Narayana Murthy is still struggling.

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Infosys’ revenue growth rate has doubled to 11.5%  in 2013/14 and its stock has zoomed 30% but that pales in comparison to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and HCL Technologies, which grew 16% and 14% respectively over the same period, while their stocks have surged by 55% and 88%.

Since he returned as executive chairman last June to revive the induat stry leader-turned-laggard, a procession of senior executives and CEO probables have gone out of the company, and staff attrition has hovered around 18%.

Infosys president BG Srinivas quit last week, almost as a dark first-anniversary gift for Murthy. Srinivas was seen as the last in-house horse to win the CEO race to replace SD Shibulal, who is due to retire ahead of his schedule early next year.

“Murthy’s return has not had the impact that was expected,” said Shriram Subramanian, founder of InGovern, a corporate governance advisory firm and a former Infosys employee himself. “By bringing in his son Rohan Murty (as hi executive assistant), he has shattered the morale of many senior people at Infy,.

He said Murthy relied on old methods like cost cutting and large deals to keep the ship afloat, while what it needed was  “some bold moves and out of the box solutions.”

“The incoming CEO should be given a carte blanche,” he said.

However, Shashi Bhushan, senior analyst with broking firm Prabhudas Liladhar, who track Infosys stocks says it would be unfair to target Murthy. “Murthy himself had said that it would take three years to revive growth. Company is still in transition and there are many unfinished tasks,” he said.


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