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'I did not, in my wildest dreams, imagine I would be back'

Last updated on: June 2, 2013 11:30 IST

'I did not, in my wildest dreams, imagine I would be back'

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Bibhu Ranjan Mishra in Bangalore

N R Narayana Murthy, who was reappointed executive chairman of Infosys on Saturday, talks to Bibhu Ranjan Mishra about the rationale behind the move, as well as what led to his son Rohan Murthy joining the company. Excerpts:

After retiring from Infosys in August 2011, did you imagine you would get another opportunity to work with the company?

Never! I did not, in my wildest dreams, imagine I would be back in an executive capacity.

How different is Infosys today from what it was when you left?

I have come here several times, but only to meet visitors. Therefore, it is somehow difficult for me to answer that.

How fit are you for this second innings?

Sachin Tendulkar is my hero in the world of cricket. At an age when most cricketers retire, he continues to play and set milestones. And, even at the age of 40, he is doing a great job. I have to learn how he managed to be so successful, even at that age. If I can follow his example, perform like him, I think I would be happy.

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Photographs: Reuters

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'Infosys is like an orchestra, a symphony'

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Some believe K V Kamath is stepping down, as he has not been able to do a good job during his stint at Infosys. Do you agree?

There should be no criticism of K V Kamath for what he has done during his stint as non-executive chairman. He is an extraordinary individual and one of the finest chief executives this country has produced.

Also, he is an extraordinary chairman because he does all that is required for the functioning of the board.

You were in an executive role at Infosys about seven years ago. So, now, you are more powerful than in August 2011. What radical changes do you plan to introduce?

Infosys has always operated as a well-coordinated team. We are like an orchestra, a symphony. Therefore, everyone would have to play their roles to perfection.

After studying the situation and collecting data, I would participate in discussions on what has worked, what hasn't and what needs to be changed.

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Photographs: Reuters
Tags: Kamath , Infosys

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As long as I am chairman, Rohan would be executive assistant'

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What led to bringing your son Rohan to Infosys? Is he being groomed for a bigger role?

In the last two to three years, I had the joy and privilege of working with a set of extraordinary youngsters, one of whom was Rohan.

After I became executive chairman, I realised the fastest way for me to be effective is to bring a small team of people from the team at Catamaran (Catamaran Ventures was founded by Murthy in 2010) and add value to Infosys.

In a way, Rohan's term is fixed - as long as I am chairman, he would be executive assistant.

Does this mean you have changed the policy of co-founders not bringing family members to the company?

No. But please remember I had retired. Therefore, after the company invited me, I told them for the past two to three years, I have been used to working with these peop#8804 I enjoyed doing it.

I told them I would be most effective if I could have the team I was used to, and the board was very kind. That's all about it.

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Photographs: Courtesy, eecs.harvard.edu

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'Rohan would assist me, in terms of collection of data and analysis'

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If a co-founder's family member wants to join the company, would he/she be allowed?

You have to ask K V Kamath and the board why they invited me. I am not the person to answer that question.

If the company sees it necessary to invite anybody who has retired, not just co-founders, he or she has the right to say these are the terms under which they would be effective and add value to the company.

What would be Rohan's role as executive assistant to the chairman?

It would be to make me more effective. He would assist me, in terms of collection of data and analysis, as well as in some other areas.


Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff
Tags: Rohan , Kamath

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'Infosys is like the middle child of our family'

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Would Rohan be an employee of Infosys?

Yes, but he would be my executive assistant and he would receive a salary of Re 1 a year.

Why is Rohan not taking the salary commensurate with his education and experience?

Well, I think he is an idealistic young man and Infosys is like the middle child of our family. We have enormous attachment to Infosys; therefore, he (Rohan) feels it is not for money that he would come in, but for satisfying his emotional connect...he wants to add value to the company.

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Image: A file photo of Narayana Murthyin Infosys cafeteria during lunch time.
Photographs: Reuters
Tags: Rohan , Re , Infosys

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'Infosys is very important to me, to Rohan and to my family'

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What would happen to Catamaran?

Catamaran would continue, as we have a team there. But some of the projects that were work-in-progress would be slowed and some wouldn't move forward.

That's a sacrifice we have to make because at the end of the day, Infosys is very important to me, to Rohan and to my family.

Besides Catamaran, what are your other engagements?

I used to be on the boards of several companies. I resigned from HSBC, Unilever and have completed my terms at Cornell, Stanford and Wharton. I need to look at which outside responsibilities I can continue and which I can't.


Image: Narayana Murthy speaks during a news conference in Bangalore April 13, 2007.
Photographs: Reuters

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