New Delhi: More than three decades since its inception, India's second largest software firm Infosys has got its first non-founder chief executive officer in Vishal Sikka. He replaces S D Shibulal, last among the co-founders to hold the CEO post.
On June 12, 2014, at the Bangalore headquarters of the $8.2 billion firm, N.R. Narayana Murthy, the 67-year-old co-founder and executive chairman, announced that after 33 years, he and the other two remaining co-founders — S. Gopalakrishnan, who serves as executive vice chairman, and CEO S.D. Shibulal — were stepping down.
Experts say the departure of the three co-founders is a positive development and the move indicates that the founders recognize that “they do not have the capabilities to take the company to the next orbit of growth, which is essential to remain competitive in the industry.” “Appointing a new CEO and giving up his executive chairman role, Murthy has shown that he has the imagination and courage to take risks on people and ideas,” they say.
Sikka comes from the German software firm SAP, where he was a member of its executive board, leading all products and driving innovation. Sikka is credited with developing HANA — High-performance Analytic Appliance — SAP's flagship in-memory database management system. It remains to be seen how Sikka steers the Infosys towards a new growth trajectory.
According to industry pundits, a “desirable state” for Infosys in the next few years would at the forefront of the technology universe, not merely as the leader among Indian outsourcing providers.
Here are some interesting facts about NR Narayana Murthy:
1. In 1981, Murthy founded Infosys Technologies along with six of his friends. Since none of them had the money to start the company, luckily his wife Sudha Murthy, who was an engineer with Tata Industries, gave him Rs 10,000 to start the company.
2. Narayana Murthy was born on 20 August 1946 to Sri R H Kulkarni and Vimala Kulkarni at Mysore, in Mysore, Karnataka. He got a degree in Electrical Engineering from Mysore University, and later studied Computer Science at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kanpur. He has also worked at IIM Ahmedabad as chief systems programmer before Infosys.
3. Murthy served as the CEO of Infosys for 21 years, from 1981 to 2002, later succeeded by co-founder Nandan Nilekani in 2002. He was the chairman of the board from 2002 to 2006, after which he became Chairman of the Board and Chief Mentor. In August 2011, he retired from the company, taking the title Chairman Emeritus.
4. Murthy has been given Padma Shri award in 2000, Commander of the Order of the British Empire award by the UK govenrment, Officer of the Legion of Honour by Government of France, Padma Vibhushan award by President of India, and many other awards.