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Tough task ahead for new Infy CEO

June 22, 2007 15:48 IST

For S 'Kris' Gopalakrishnan, the new chief executive officer of Infosys, life won't be same anymore. While insiders say the 52-year-old, soft spoken Kris is one of the most capable men to steer Infosys, he does face an uphill task -- thanks to a stronger rupee, spiralling wages, high attrition rate and shortage of skilled workforce.

Earlier reacting to his appointment as the CEO, he had said his job was to make sure that 'Infosys continues to sustain its leadership and momentum and to give confidence to people that this (management change) is a smooth transition.'

Kris is one of the seven founders of Infosys that was set up in 1981 with a meager $250. He takes over from Nandan Nilekani, who will now be the co-chairman of the Infosys board.

Although the new CEO may not appear as charismatic as his predecessors - N R Narayana Murthy and Nandan Nilekani - he makes up for it in quiet resolve and affability.

In 1981, Kris, along with N R Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani and four others, founded Infosys Technologies Limited. The initial years of his responsibility at Infosys included management of design, development, implementation and support of information systems for clients in the consumer products industry in the US. During 1987-1994 he headed the technical operations of KSA/Infosys (a joint venture between Infosys and KSA at Atlanta, USA) as vice president (technical).

In 1994, Kris returned to India and was appointed deputy managing director of the company. In April 2002 he was appointed as chief operating officer and since August 2006 was the president and joint managing director of the company.

Even though Infosys is on auto-pilot, consistently adding a billion dollars to its topline year-on-year, there is a requirement to enhance focus on the cost side rather than on the business side.

"My focus would be to make Infosys more competitive, increase productivity further, continue to be a leader in corporate governance, attract the best of global talent and enhance brand equity."

While that is the broad picture, the specific and cardinal task before him will be to crank up Infosys' consulting capabilities to their fullest extent. And once that is achieved Infosys will establish itself as a global leader in software and consulting.
Rediff Business Desk