Murthy to give strategic direction to Infosys: Kamath

Bangalore, June 15 (IANS) Infosys’ co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy will provide strategic direction to the global software major on return as executive chairman, outgoing chairman K.V. Kamath said Saturday.

“Murthy, who has consented to be executive chairman again, will guide the company when the industry is facing challenges of an inflexion point in the technology business and provide strategic direction at this point of time,” Kamath said at the company’s 32nd annual general meeting here.

Addressing shareholders, Kamath said Murthy’s entrepreneurial and leadership record, coupled with his long experience as a technology pioneer, made him eminently qualified to lead Infosys again.

“Murthy has always been pro-active in his leadership as one of the key figures in shaping the future of our industry. I am sure we will again see an Infosys which is pro-active in everything it does as an industry leader,” Kamath said.

At an emergent meeting June 1, the company’s board had appointed the 67-year-old Murthy as executive chairman for the next five years to steer its fortunes in these challenging times.

Retiring from the company in August 2011 as non-executive chairman on attaining 65 years, Murthy become the company’s chairman emeritus for life. He was the company’s chief executive till 2002 since inception in 1981 and chairman till 2007.

Admitting that the current global economic climate posed challenges and the company’s response had fallen short at times, Kamath said.

Even so, the company had posted a year-on-year (YoY) growth of 19.6 percent in rupee terms and 5.8 percent YoY in dollar terms for fiscal 2012-13.

“Our annual consolidated revenues stood at Rs.40,352 crore and net profit at Rs.9,421 crore for the fiscal (FY 2013) under review. Our company, including subsidiaries, added 235 new clients worldwide. We also acquired Lodestone Holding AG during the fiscal,” Kamath told the investors.

Noting that employees were the soul of the company, Kamath lauded them for their performance.

As the company’s April 12 letter to investors notifying about the AGM preceded the board’s emergent meeting June 1, Murthy’s election as a director was placed for approval of the shareholders.

On his election as a director, the board moved a resolution to convene an extraordinary general meeting to seek approval of shareholders for appointing Murthy as the executive chairman and whole-time director for five years with effect from June 1.

But Murthy’s return to the helm abruptly cuts short the five-year tenure of Kamath who will be a lead independent director on the board.

Another co-founder S. Gopalakrishnan, made co-chairman in August 2011, has been re-designated as executive vice-chairman, while chief executive and managing director, also a co-founder, S.D. Shibulal will continue in the same post.

Murthy, Gopalakrishnan and Shibulal have volunteered to draw a token compensation of Re.1 per month during their tenure.

The board also agreed to Murthy’s request to have his son Rohan Murthy as his executive assistant in the chairman’s office during his tenure.

Rohan’s appointment will be co-terminus with that of his father’s tenure for five years.

As Murthy’s only son and a blue-eyed boy, 30-year-old Rohan will take a sabbatical from Harvard University in the US where he is a junior fellow in the Society of Fellows to assist his father in the chairman’s office.

A Ph.D in computer science from Harvard and a graduate from Cornell University, Rohan held fellowships at MIT, Caltech and Microsoft Research in the US.

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