Vishal wants to deliver software services in a new way: Apotheker

Sangeetha Chengappa Bangalore | Updated on October 10, 2014 Published on October 10, 2014

LEO APOTHEKER, Vice-Chairman and independent lead director, Schneider Electric

Leo Apotheker, Vice-Chairman and independent lead director at Schneider Electric, has spent much of his professional life in the IT industry, with over 20 years at SAP and a brief 10-month stint at Hewlett-Packard.

More importantly, he happens to be Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka’s former colleague at SAP. Sikka worked directly under Apotheker for 4-5 years. In an interaction with BusinessLine, Apotheker talked about Sikka. Edited excerpts:

What do you think Vishal Sikka’s single biggest contribution to Infosys will be?

His biggest contribution to Infosys is his personality, his brain. My guess is Vishal wants to introduce design thinking and deliver software services in a whole new way. He is a good man and I wish him good luck at Infosys.

What do you remember most about him?

What stands out in my mind is that he is probably a person who has the deepest knowledge about computer systems. He is a real computer scientist. He is an honest man and he works hard, too. People who worked for me had to work really hard (laughs).

With Sikka moving out of SAP, do you think it’s a huge loss for the company?

Vishal and I worked together for a number of years. He worked directly for me for 4-5 years and it was a pleasure working with him. My father used to say that the cemetery is filled to the brim with indispensable people. What he meant is, nobody is indispensable, not even I.

I left SAP and the company continues. If you have a company that is built around the fact that somebody is indispensable, then that company has a huge problem on hand. What if that person was hit by a bus? Vishal is a great guy, but I don’t think he or anybody else is indispensable.

He is bringing a lot of his SAP colleagues into Infosys. Will it work out for him?

It would be presumptuous for me to comment on that. I’m sure that he looked at Infosys very carefully, analysed the situation and is going to do what is right for Infosys. You know, sometimes companies need to change; it happens all the time.

Won’t this poaching lead to a soured relationship between Infosys and SAP, strong partners today?

Good for Vishal if he is able to get his ex-colleagues from SAP to join him at Infosys. If Vishal is attractive enough for people to join him, it is good for Vishal.

Published on October 10, 2014
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