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Brought Rohan to Remove Status Quo, Bring New Perspective at Infosys: Murthy

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Brought Rohan to Remove Status Quo, Bring New Perspective at Infosys: Murthy

Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy on Saturday stepped down as the company's executive chairman after addressing the 33rd annual general meeting (AGM). Mr Murthy had announced his resignation on Thursday, when Infosys named former SAP executive Vishal Sikka as the company's new CEO.

Mr Murthy today said that he has the satisfaction of completing the two tasks for which he came back from retirement in June 2013 - that of building a strong foundation for growth and assisting the board in finding an able CEO.

"Dr Sikka is well-known globally for leading the creating of HANA, and has been hailed as a wonderful leader and a technology visionary... I am glad that the second part of my mission is over," he said. (Read: Who is Vishal Sikka?)

Analysts say Mr Murthy is leaving behind a mixed legacy at the end of his second innings at Infosys. Infosys has doubled its growth rate (in dollar terms) from 5.8 per cent in fiscal 2013 to 11.5 per cent in fiscal 2014 and its margins have increased by 200 basis points over the last year.

However, the who's who of Infosys has left the company over the same period. Most of these high-level exits have been linked to the battle for the CEO's chair, which for the first time went to a non-founder.

Infosys is also battling high attrition and a loss of employee morale. The annualised rate of attrition at Infosys - the number of staff leaving or retiring - was a record 18.7 per cent at March-end, 2.4 percentage points higher than a year earlier. That's close to a fifth of its workforce of more than 160,000.

Mr Murthy, however, maintained that many key executives who left Infosys quit to follow higher aspirations or were "low performers". (Read the full story here)

He added that Infosys had diluted its focus on meritocracy and accountability during the last decade. (Read)

"I set about identifying hidden jewels in the company and giving them opportunity to lead its resurrection, and identifying not-so-well-performing people and moving them to tasks that they were best suited for," he said.

Mr Murthy, who was last year criticised for inducting his son Rohan as an executive assistant, today spelled out the reasons for choosing him to play an important role at Infosys.

"I needed somebody by my side who is intelligent, smart, and is new to the industry to the point where he/she would not accept status quo. This was my charge to Rohan - to bring fresh new perspectives from his world, to think from the left field, to not accept status quo, and ultimately only focus on how Infosys can use technology to differentiate in the market place."

Rohan's term, which was coterminous with the chairman's office, came to an end today. Mr Murthy will continue in his role as non-executive chairman till October 10 after which he will assume the role of chairman emeritus.

(With inputs from agencies)

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