Simmering differences between the founders of Infosys Technologies and TV Mohandas Pai, whose exit was announced last week amid a succession tangle on the next CEO, came out in the open on Tuesday with the human resource chief saying his lack of seniority could have come between him and the top job in India's technology bellwether.
Officially, Pai is leaving to pursue other interests and passing on the baton to younger aspirants, but the subtext is different.
"My opinion is that the person who is the best bet for the future should be preferred, because life is about tomorrow and not yesterday. Performance is about tomorrow and not about yesterday," Pai said in response to questions from HT when quizzed about chairman NR Narayana Murthy's view to prefer the senior of two equally capable persons in a company for leadership roles.
Pai, who has spent 17 years in the company and was its finance chief during its dizzy growth period, has gone on record as saying, "What goes against me? Seniority. You are discriminated against because the founders have spent longer years."
Pai told HT that Infosys was a "founder-driven" company but that the founders were "wonderful" and created an open culture But he added that others had made contributions and "deserve all credit."
While a selection panel is due to meet on April 30 to pick the successor for CEO and managing director S "Kris" Gopalakrishnan, the clear frontrunner is co-founder and chief operating officer SD Shibulal, whose strong track record is mainly in delivery of IT service projects.