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Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan bids farewell

October 08, 2014 22:51 IST

Image: Infosys Founders Kris Gopalakrishna and N R Narayanmurthy at the farewell event of Krish at the company's headquarters in Bangalore. Photograph: Shailendra Bhojak/PTI

Kris Gopalakrishnan, the last among its founders to leave Infosys, was given a farewell at the company headquarters where co-founder N R Narayana Murthy said he had no regrets about his controversial second come back.

"I have no regrets at all. Life is about doing certain things and not doing certain things. At the end of the day, it is the sum total of all this.... So I have no regrets," said Murthy flanked by other founders including Nandan Nilekani who had a brief stint in politics and unsuccessfully contested last Lok Sabha elections from Bangalore.

Seven co-founders, led by Murthy, set up the city-based firm in 1981. Murthy had the longest run of about 21 years as CEO before passing the baton to Nandan Nilekani and then Gopalakrishnan and S D Shibulal.

Murthy returned to the over $8 billion firm for a second stint as Chairman in June last year after Infosys hit rough waters, falling behind peers like TCS and HCL Technologies. Murthy, who brought his son Rohan along in the second stint, quit in June following a spate of senior executives leaving the company.

Image: Kris Gopalakrishnan of Infosys. Photograph: Robert Galbraith/Reuters

He and Gopalakrishnan stepped down as executive chairman and executive vice chairman, respectively, on June 14. They, however, continue on the board till October 10 as non-executive chairman and non-executive vice chairman.

Murthy, who will be designated as Chairman Emeritus from October 11, said listing of Infosys on Nasdaq, the first by an Indian company, was high point of his career.

S Gopalakrishnan, or Kris as he is fondly known, said he is not set out for politics.

"In my case, at least at this point, no political ambitions at all. I don't think I am set out for politics," he said when asked if he too will join politics like his former colleagues Nilekani and V Balakrishnan.

Image: Infosys Founders from left Nandan Nilekani, N S Raghavan, Kris Gopalakrishna, N R Narayanmurthy, S D Shibulal and K Dinesh at the farewell event of Krish at the Infosys headquarters. Photograph: Shailendra Bhojak/PTI

He added that he is looking at pursuing two areas, research and entrepreneurship, in the days ahead.

In August this year, Infosys appointed former SAP board member Vishal Sikka as its CEO and Managing Director.

Sikka is the first outsider (and not part of the co-founder's club) to lead the Bangalore-based firm. He took over from Shibulal.

Talking about the transition, Shibulal said it is like any other transition at any other firm. "This is an organisation with very strong values and beliefs. It believes in speed and innovation and I hope they will continue to be preserved."

"We leave with the satisfaction of taking this company from a market value of Rs 28.5 crores (Rs 285 million) on the day of listing in India in 1993 to Rs 2,00,000 crores (Rs 2 trillion) today, a return of 6,50,000 per cent over 21 years - a CAGR of 89 per cent," Murthy said.

Image: Infosys Founders, from left, Nandan Nilekani and Kris Gopalakrishna look on as N R Narayanmurthy speaks at the farewell event of Krish Gopalakrishna at the Infosys headquarters. Photograph: Shailendra Bhojak/PTI

At the farewell function held at the company's headquarters, the founding team with Murthy, K Dinesh, Nandan Nilekani, Shibulal, Kris and N S Raghavan were present.

Reminiscing his stint at Infosys, Kris said computers have become ubiquitous and created a large industry, both in products and services.

"The Internet has connected the world. I have been fortunate to be part of this industry for the last 35 years of its 70 years. I was fortunate that my passion for computing became my profession, and that I was able to make an impact in this industry through Infosys, through the innovations we pioneered and the jobs we created," he said.

Speaking about the importance of connecting with customers for business success, Nilekani said building client relationships, based on intimacy and empathy, ranked among his top three priorities for business organisations.

"But intimacy is not only about knowing your client; it is also your ticket to mindshare. And anyone who has business experience will tell you that mindshare always precedes share of market, or of wallet. This is the reason why a number of CEOs at global organisations passionately voice their commitment to ‘listening on the job’," he said.

Speaking about his last role as the head of Quality at Infosys, Dinesh said the firm has earned the sustained trust of stakeholders.

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