Sunday, June 01, 2014

Crisis in Infosys

N.R.Narayana Murthy must be a worried man. Since he rejoined Infosys as its Executive Chairman, scores of top managers have left the company. NRN is not known to accept such departures with equanimity. He is similar to A.M.Naik of L & T in this regard.

Did Murthy make a mistake in coming back to the company? He had earlier thanked persons like K.V.Kamath, V.Balakrishnan, Mohandas Pai and others for their role in his comeback. He may be cursing them now.

An aura of indispensability was built around Murthy. He succumbed with ease. He came in with his son, in utter disregard for canons of corporate governance for which he was a notable votary earlier. Top executives in the company paranoiacally saw ulterior designs in Murthy's second avatar as Chairman with his son in tow. The more he tried to convince others about his sincerity, the more suspicious they became. Murthy is not Steve Jobs.

Managerial leaders do not thrive in an atmosphere of suspicion. So many of them started leaving. In the normal course, the managers who continue in the company should feel a little more assured of promotion prospects because of top level vacancy. But this is not happening.

 The hunt for a new CEO to replace Shibulal is also taking its toll. Shibulal has been an unwilling CEO. Infosys has many talented executives who will be capable CEOs. Looking outside for leadership is a typical 'musk deer complex'. There are attempts to snare Nandan Nilekani into management again. NN rejoining Infosys will not be good either for him or for the company. He has become too political to guide the company objectively. The company should cease obsessing with promoters.

Management literature is replete with examples of outsiders doing poorly as CEOs. Infosys is preparing to provide one more example. Murthy is on a mission to tarnish his own legacy.

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