THE CHAIRMAN of Infosys Technologies, N.R. Narayana Murthy, logged out on Sunday after 25 years at the helm of the company which he started with $250 and six other engineers and which he turned into India's second largest software firm.
Murthy was not in his cabin on the sprawling Infosys campus but away at Mantralaya, a pilgrim centre in Andhra Pradesh, to offer puja on his 60th birthday. He had wrapped up everything on Friday, said colleagues, meeting board members, finishing discussions.
Nandan Nilekani will call the shots at Infosys as CEO and managing director while Murthy will serve as non-executive chairman of the board and chief mentor.
"Murthy leads by example. He retired so that none in Infosys will hold the position of a director after touching 60," said T.V. Mohan Das Pai, board director.
Kiran Karnik, Nasscom president, was quoted as saying, "Murthy became the symbol of what I would call the most important part of new India. Somebody with only knowledge as his capital and somebody who holds on to values that are middle class is able to do not only well but outstandingly well."
Murthy told a news agency, "Infosys is not a company selling software, but a global corporation, with an enduring value system." He turned Infosys into a company with annual revenue of more than $2 billion. Along with that IT became a byword for new India and the son of a schoolteacher in Mysore became one of the czars of India Inc.