Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy is not happy with the direction the company is headed in.
Talking to a television channel, he said: “A lot of my founder colleagues told me not to leave Infosys in 2014 and stay for a few years.” A lot of his decisions, he added, “are based on idealism and probably I should have listened to them.”
A senior executive who has worked with Murthy in Infosys’ in its heyday, said: “I agree with him. The Board needs people to ensure continuity who understand the business well.”
Murthy’s expression of regret comes at a time when Infosys is making efforts to come back onto the growth path, after subsequent quarters of under-performance.
The co-founder had made a comeback in 2013-14 at a time when the company was going through a rough period. His comeback had stabilised the company to some extent, and in 2014, the Board appointed Vishal Sikka as the first non-founder CEO of the software services major.
Since Sikka took over the reins, the company has had to make structural (paying high salaries for acquiring talent) as well as strategic changes, which include higher management payouts, which goes against the grain of Murthy’s “compassionate capitalism”, especially at a time when layoffs in the $155-billion IT industry are growing.
Murthy, along with others, has also raised concerns over corporate governance issues within the company, relating to the acquisition of Panaya and severance payouts made by the Board to former CFO Rajiv Bansal.
Subsequently, the Infosys Board initiated an inquiry by third-party firms; they have given the company a clean chit.
Some indusry watchers questioned this. “If the Board has to appoint a third party to engage with the co-founders and not talk to them directly, where is the trust?” wondered another former senior executive of Infosys.
Others, however, believe that it is not right on Murthy’s part to air these sentiments in public.
Instead he should start embracing the new road that Infosys has embarked on, they feel.