The saga concerning the mass executive flight at Infosys seems to have no ending. A few days ago Chandrashekhar Kakal, the company’s India business unit head, resigned from the company, making him its 9th top level exit since co-founder and demi-god Narayana Murthy returned last year to try and fix things at a company that was showing all signs of slowly going off the rails with its chronically missed guidances, amongst other things.
Other top dogs who left in the last nine months are Ashok Vemuri, head of global manufacturing and the Americas (snapped up by fellow IT Services company iGate), and V Balakrishnan, head of outsourcing.
Analysts haven't reacted to this favourably. JP Morgan’s Viju George and Amit Sharmain feel that news headlines of these departures have hurt the company somewhat and things are only going to get rockier. After all, it takes time for existing key personnel to acclimatise to their new positions, cultivate relationships with clients and deepen their engagement and this is not ncecessarily time that Infosys has all that much of.
Also somewhat worrisome to the investment community apparently was the loss of key mid-level account and project managers who ensure that, apart from wins, existing projects are run well and in a timely fashion.
According to George, Infosys is in a troubling spin cycle. "It's a bit of a circular loop." Once the company loses critical middle-management talent and as a result delivery and client satisfaction suffer, hurting growth. Once growth is seen slowing, talented people look for options elsewhere for better prospects, he said. "Infosys must break this circular, vicious loop."
Murthy, of course, seems to have no qualms about the exodus and has even gone one step further by saying that this has in fact been a good thing considering the majority of them have not been pulling their weight in comparison to their plush pay cheques.
"Barring exceptions—I have to mention that because there were a couple of good people—the rest of the people who had to leave unfortunately were people who were drawing very high salary and unfortunately we were not getting value from them," said Murthy at an investor meet according to the article. The company recently promoted BS Srinivas and UP Pravin Rao to signal their seriousness about plugging the top level holes and paving the way for a future leader.
Infosys could have probably done a better job at putting a younger more dynamic lot to steer the company ahead, but once the choice candidates left, the purported purge—or voluntary exodus, depending on how you read the goings-ons at the company—was perhaps just the thing the company needed.
Now, sans its deadweight, the company can put some fresh legs behind boosting the company's morale and fortunes even if it takes 3-5 years to do so, which is what Murthy has indicated as the expected timeline to right-side the ship. Lets hope he has the luxury of those many years to do so.