It is the end of an era, in India’s 30 year–old Infotech saga, as her most iconic company, Infosys, announces the retirement, come August 20, of charismatic co-founder-Chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy.
Another co-founder, S.D. Shibulal moves from COO to CEO and Managing Director; a third co-founder and current CEO-MD, S.“Kris” Gopalakrishnan becomes Co-Chairman of the Board and banking maestro, K.V. Kamath, the man credited with the phenomenal growth of ICICI Bank ( and the bank’s current non-Executive Chairman as well as a member of the Infosys Board) is brought in as the new Chairman. The new leadership will take over on August 21, a day after Murthy celebrates his 65th birthday and moves from active leadership to the honorific of Emeritus Chairman for life.
The announcement was made in the late evening of April 30, in an event covered live by all major business TV channels.
CEO-designate Shibulal, said Infosys was moving into its third chapter - where the first was about global delivery models and the second was about developing verticals, Infosys 3.0 was about inovation and consolidation, he said
A near-tearful Murthy recalled many emotion-charged moments in the 3-decade history of the company which started as an IT services outfit founded by half a dozen friends and fellow professionals first in Pune, then moving to Bangalore with $ 250 in the kitty – that grew to an Indian giant which made over 6 billion dollars last fiscal and employs 1,30,000 engineers and staff worldwide. The assembled wall to wall media however asked some earthy questions of selection committee chairman and Cornell University professor Jeff Lehman ( who was connected by satellite video) – questions like how the committee ended up by selecting one of its own members, Kamath as the new Chairman, effectively reducing the committee to just two members -- Lehman and HDFC Standard Life Insurance CEO Deepak M Satwalekar. Kamath reclused himself before final cut was made, Lehman explained.
Also somewhat unusually, Kamath explained he would continue to operate as ICICI Bank’s non executive Chairman, promising to devote 30 days a year to Infosys.
The company also decided to change its name from Infosys Technologies to Infosys Ltd.
April 30 2011