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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Narayana Murthy quits Infosys, yet again

IANS  Bangalore, June 14, 2014
First Published: 12:31 IST(14/6/2014) | Last Updated: 12:51 IST(14/6/2014)

For the second time in three years, Infosys chairman N R Narayana Murthy will Saturday bid adieu to the iconic company he co-founded with four other techies in 1981.

On Saturday, he will step down from the top executive post a year after he returned to revive its sagging fortunes.

Though Murthy retired from the $8.3-billion IT bellwether in August 2011 on turning 65 in compliance with the policy he laid down for co-founders at executive posts, the company's board prevailed upon him to return June 1, 2013 for five years.

Read: Can outsider Vishal Sikka change the DNA @Infosys?

The dramatic appointment of renowned technocrat Vishal Sikka, former executive board member of German software product firm SAP AG, as the global software major's first outside chief executive from August 1, however, made Murthy to call it quits, cutting short his five-year tenure.

"I decided to exit a year after my return to ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities to the new management and give a free hand to Sikka for steering Infosys into future as a marquee Indian brand in the technology space," Murthy told IANS ahead of the company's 33rd annual general meeting (AGM) later in the day.

After the handover, the reins of his grown-up "middle child" to Sikka, Murthy will become chairman emeritus again from October 11, relinquishing even as non-executive chairman, an interim post during the transition period.

Read: Here's why new CEO Vishal Sikka can lift embattled Infosys

"Very few people get an opportunity to add value to a great company a second time, that too after retirement," Murthy said in his farewell note to employees, clients, investors and other stakeholders.

If Murthy's return helped the beleaguered company double revenue growth to 11.5 percent in dollar terms last fiscal (2013-14) and improve operating margin to 25.5 percent in fourth quarter (Jan-March) from 23.5 percent in first quarter (January-March), its human capital took a beating with the exit of a dozen senior executives, including a couple of board directors and over 36,000 lateral and junior techies during the fiscal under review.

"While the results of what we have set out to do are still far from being realised, this journey has been very exciting and invigorating for me, as I got to know many extraordinary employees in sales, software delivery and business enabler functions," Murthy said.

Read: Vishal Sikka mixes global high-tech with rich Indian roots

Having accomplished the task of finding an eminent successor to retiring chief executive and another co-founder S.D. Shibulal and putting the company back on the growth path, Murthy said getting Sikka on the board was a culmination of efforts he had put in over the last 12 months though the task of rebuilding the bellwether would take 36 months to yield results in terms of sales, delivery and cost-effectiveness.

"I will share my views and vision for the company's growth ahead with employees and shareholders at the AGM later in the day. The task ahead is, as stated earlier, to increase the company's competitiveness in the global market to achieve the industry-leading growth and margins," Murthy said.

Asserting that he brought the company to a shape from where Sikka would be able to carry on, Murthy said he had the satisfaction of doing the job to the best of his ability and fulfill the mandate the board gave year ago.

Read: New Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka to revive company with tech, boardroom savvy


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