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How Narayana Murthy can change Infosys' future

Last updated on: June 3, 2013 12:19 IST

Image: Courtesy,
Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore

N R Narayana Murthy returning to Infosys is the talk of the town. Debates are going on how he would change the fortunes of Infosys, which has seen a slump during the past couple of years.

P R Ganapathy
, Narayana Murthy's first executive assistant, shares his views on Murthy's comeback and management crisis at Infosys.

Ganapathy who joined Infosys in 1998, worked closely with Narayana Murthy preparing for the Nasdaq listing in 1999.

Besides being the head of corporate planning, Ganapathy was also in charge of Investor Relations for four years, interacting with Murthy and the other founders. He, however, quit Infosys in 2005.

Ganapathy tells's Vicky Nanjappa that unless Murthy launches an aggressive search for a significant infusion of new blood, he will find it difficult to implement the dramatic changes at Infosys that everyone is expecting.


How Narayana Murthy can change Infosys' future

Image: nfosys Technologies Chairman Narayana Murthy.
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters.

What are your thoughts on Narayana Murthy returning to Infosys as its executive chairman?

While Narayana Murthy will inspire confidence in some employees and investors, I think we need to understand the challenges facing Infosys.

For the last 10 years, Infosys needed to take its game to the next orbit and become a consulting-led technology solutions provider to compete against companies like IBM and Accenture.

Doing that requires a team at the helm that knows how to execute that sort of strategy, including making strategic acquisitions, investing in senior talent and developing industry solutions.

The senior team at Infosys have been there for at least 16 years; they have seen the company grow from $68 million to $7 billion. They know that Infosys needs to make this transition, but have been unable to do it.

I therefore feel that unless he launches an aggressive search for a significant infusion of new blood, Murthy will find it difficult to turn around Infosys' fortunes.



How Narayana Murthy can change Infosys' future

Image: A view of the Infosys' Mangalore campus.
Photographs: Courtesy, Infosys.

There appears to be a management crisis at the Infosys since the past two years. Can Murthy sort this out?

Infosys has always had talented management, but I think it needs more than just talent - it needs management with the right sort of experience and relationships - that will help them connect with boards of Fortune 500 companies and drive business the way IBM and Accenture do.

If Murthy uses his tenure to launch a search for fresh blood with that sort of experience and connections, he may be able to sort it out.

It also remains to be seen whether the rest of the organisation, especially the next line of managers (who are eyeing the top slots), allow new people to come in or not.


How Narayana Murthy can change Infosys' future

Image: Narayana Murthy (R), Chairman and CEO of Infosys Technologies Ltd queues up in his office cafeteria during lunch time in Bangalore in this file photo.
Photographs: Reuters.

Now with Murthy back, how do you see the future of Infosys change?

From Murthy's comments it doesn't appear that he feels the company needs major changes. I therefore don't know if we should expect too much to change.

Infosys had a policy of co-founders not bringing in their family members into the company. Do you think a bad precedent has been set in by bringing in Rohan?

I don't think his son coming in is such a big deal. The executive assistant position, which I held, is one that helps the boss become more effective by supporting him with analysis, managing his meetings and calendar, diligently following up action etc.

If Murthy feels that Rohan will be an effective executive assistant and will help him do his job better, I don't think there's anything wrong with it.


How Narayana Murthy can change Infosys' future

Image: Chairman of Infosys Technologies N. R. Narayana Murthy.
Photographs: Jagadeesh/Reuters.

Murthy says that Rohan is there for a fixed term. Do you believe that or is it a way of consolidating his son's position in the company?

Infosys has always had a very professional culture and Rohan will have to earn his spurs like everyone else.

Knowing Murthy I doubt he will later thrust Rohan into positions of responsibility against the wishes of other senior managers. I think on this particular aspect there is no smoke or fire.