Infosys recalls former executive chairman amid 'challenging' times

Battling renewed competition at home and difficult global economic climate, India's outsourcing poster child has recalled co-founder Narayana Murthy back to the executive chairman post.
Written by Mahesh Sharma, Correspondent on

Infosys co-founder N.R Narayana Murthy has returned to the executive chairman's role he vacated two years ago, following calls for the company to beef up its leadership team. 

In a statement released Saturday, Infosys said Murthy replaced K.V Kamath, who has taken up the position of lead independent director. Kamath revealed that stakeholders had asked the Indian outsourcing services provider to strengthen its executive leadership amid a challenging time. 

At its fourth-quarter earning results, Infosys said its profit dropped 4.1 percent to US$444 million and warned global economic uncertainties continued to plague the IT industry. Kamath said: "The board has taken this step keeping in mind the challenges that the technology industry, and the company, faces and in the interest of all stakeholders, particularly shareholders large and small, that have asked for the strengthening of the executive leadership during this challenging time.

"Murthy's entrepreneurial and leadership record and the long experience he has had as a technology pioneer makes him eminently qualified to lead the company and provide strategic direction at this point in time."

Murthy was previously chairman between 2002 and 2011, and before that had served as CEO between 1981 and 2002. To assist him during his upcoming five-year term, the founder had requested his son, Rohan Murthy--who previously held fellowships at MIT, Caltech, and Microsoft--joined Infosys as executive assistant in the chairman's office.

The pair will be paid a token sum of 1 rupee (about a US penny) each per year.

"This calling was sudden, unexpected, and most unusual but then, Infosys is my middle child," the senior Murthy said. Therefore, I have put aside my plans-in-progress and accepted this responsibility. I am grateful to K.V Kamath--the chairman--the board, and every Infoscion for giving me this opportunity. I intend to do my best to add value to the company in this challenging situation."

Formerly executive co-chairman, S. Gopalakrishnan--also one of the company's co-founder--has been re-designated executive vice-chairman and will focus primarily on key client relationships and broader industry issues. S.D Shibulal will continue as managing director and CEO. Both Gopalakrishnan and Shibulal also requested to be paid a token renumeration of 1 rupee per year.

Murthy's election, as well as his request to create the chairman's office to assist him during his tenure, will be decided by shareholders at the company's annual general meeting to be held on June 15, 2013. 

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