Board wants to hire a person capable of being a strategy guru for the IT co
Infosys is keen to choose an outsider as its first nonfounder CEO, people familiar with deliberations at the software company said, contrary to the widely-held perception that it is almost certain to promote one of its own executives to the coveted post. In its best-case option, the company’s board wants to hire a person capable of being a strategy guru for the company while eloquently articulating Infosys’ value proposition in the boardrooms of the world’s top corporations. This person will work in tandem with an incumbent who will be promoted as chief operating officer, two sources said. The model, one of them observed, would be quite similar to how Sam Palmisano and Louis Gerstner combined technology vision with execution to script IBM’s famous turnaround after its “near-death-experience” in the mid-nineties.
“It’s an ideal scenario being considered if the company is able to find a visionary leader from the world of technology,” a source said, remarking that it is quite possible that the company will settle for an insider as the CEO succeeding SD Shibulal. Infosys declined to comment for this story.
Exec search firm Egon Zehnder will come up with a shortlist of external candidates
Nearly a year ago, founder NR Narayana Murthy was recalled by the board as executive chairman following more than two years in which the company under-performed the industry. Murthy, 67, who was appointed to a five-year term along with his son Rohan Murty as his executive assistant, has said that he wants to create a “desirable Infosys” in three years. A month ago, Infosys appointed USbased Development Dimensions International, a specialist in executive evaluations, to present the nominations committee of the board with a slate of internal candidates. Executive search firm Egon Zehnder will come up with a shortlist of external candidates. The nominations committee consists of independent directors KV Kamath, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and R Seshasayee. “The Cognizant model that allows time for (CEO) Francisco D’Souza to focus on future while other leaders execute and maintain existing business is also something that’s gained relevance,” a second source said. Murthy has been focussing his atten- tion on reducing costs and aggressively bidding for bread-and-butter contracts to develop and maintain software applications and computer infrastructure. The challenge facing Infosys is that it must also increase the proportion of revenue from newer technology areas such as cloud computing and data analytics while keeping the revenue clock ticking rapidly. “Murthy wants to make sure Infosys does not become irrelevant; not at least when he’s handing over the baton to another chairman or CEO,” one of the sources said. Murthy, according to this person, wants to ensure that Infosys regains what the consulting firm Bain & Company describes as the Founder’s Mentality-- the core strengths and values that helped it succeed in the first place. Infosys is facing the twin challenges of adapting to the big changes in the world of technology services while also putting a leadership structure in place that could combine vision with execution. The low-cost global delivery model it pioneered has been replicated by much bigger global rivals such as IBM and Accenture.