Murthy had believed Infosys is a professionally run company and should keep promoters’ children away from any management roles in the firm. “I was completely wrong in that. I was depriving this organisation of legitimate talent. I take back whatever Isaid. I think every individual should have the same opportunity as every other individual if he or she is considered the best person for that role,” he said at a press conference in Bangalore at Infosys’s 40th year celebrations.
“The reason why at that point of time, probably, I embraced that idea is I was afraid some people might bring undeserving candidates and put them in positions, and I wanted the future of the organisation to be strong,” he said. Murthy said competence should take precedence over everything else when offered a job role. Responding to the same question, Infosys co-founder and chairman Nandan Nilekani said, “We should not practise reverse discrimination. ”
The 40th year celebration that was pushed by a year due to the pandemic was a reunion of sorts of the founders, who shared the dais reminiscing about the past. Infosys — born from a onebedroom apartment with a seed capital of Rs 10,000 borrowed from Murthy’s wife Sudha Murty — has become a global tech brand with a revenue of over $17 billion and a market cap of $78 billion.
Nilekani said when he returned to the company in 2017, he couldn’t stomach Infosys becoming a reality show. “There is no plan B for when I leave. I have a huge responsibility. How do I make sure that Ihandover in a way that it continues for the 100-year journey? I will be here if it’s required. (But) I don’t want to be here that long looking at the 50th anniversary,” he said.
Nilekani said his challenge is acute. “I will be having a chairman at whatever point I exit from the scene who will be a non-founder. ” Nilekani said he would like Infosys to evolve into an institution that outlives founders and across generations through a professional model. “I haven’t found a person yet whom I can hand off to.”
Nilekani said robust succession planning is necessary to take the company to the next phase of growth. “We have to put in place a perpetual transition where every chairman and CEO combination should have the same kind of trust and working relationship that Salil (Parekh) and I have. That’s a hard ask to think ahead. But that’s my goal,” Nilekani added.
Murthy showered praises on Nilekani and Parekh for reviving the company and accelerating growth in the last 5 years. “I’m so proud of these two people and what their teams have achieved. A big note of gratitude to these two people,” he said. Nilekani described Murthy as the corporate Zubin Mehta, for his love for western classical music and his knack for spotting talent and building a team.
Nilekani said Infosys has followed the 3Rs — relevance, resilience, and responsiveness — in spirit and practice. “In business you have to be relevant to exist. We want to be a no drama, no surprise, boring company,” said Nilekani.