Monday brought in cheers to Infosys as the chief architect of the company NR Narayana Murthy came back in an executive role.
While the company's stock surged in a vote of optimism, there were some whispers that suggested a tangential undercurrent: concerns over the executive chairman’s son Rohan tagging along as his father's executive assistant.Despite Murthy's assurance that Rohan Murty, who spells his second name differently, will not hold a leadership position, many aspiring employees at the company feel that in the process of salvaging Infosys, Rohan may be groomed for a larger role.
"Rohan will now be groomed to take up a larger role in Infy and all this will happen in the name of rescuing the company," said a senior-level executive at Infosys, requesting anonymity.
"But then I do not have a lineage with any business leader," added the executive, who nurtures leadership ambitions.
Another senior executive who has been with Infy for more than a decade echoed similar views. "I will not be surprised if five years from now Rohan gets a seat in the company's board."
“There are hundreds of bright and potential candidates at Infosys from among whom Narayana Murthy could have chosen his executive assistant. But he preferred his son. This is sheer nepotism,” said Shriram Subramanian, an ex-Infoscion and MD of InGovern Research Services, a corporate governance research firm.
Strangely though, in academic terms, Rohan is eminently qualified. Only the DNA raises questions. Rohan holds a PhD and an engineering degree in computer science from top-notch US universities and his experience and well-documented interests in wireless, network systems and mobile computing make him fit for a potential leadership role.
Infosys clearly states as policy that children of its promoters will not be allowed to take up executive roles in the company. But then it also had a retirement policy which has been relaxed for the re-induction of Narayana Murthy. And this is where ambitious employees see a potential threat to their own future in the company.