Wanted at Infosys: Superhuman CEO to rescue a $10 billion tech company

Do you have it in you?
Do you have it in you?
Image: EPA/Jagadeesh NV
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Infosys, a global consulting and information technology (IT) services company, is looking for a CEO and managing director. Headquartered in Bengaluru, we are an NYSE-listed firm with annual revenues in excess of $10 billion and a workforce of over 200,000 employees. We were founded in 1981 by NR Narayana Murthy and six engineers—and our founding patriarch hasn’t really let go since. In fact, we’re only advertising for this position because he forced out the previous CEO last week.

Still interested? Great, here are the broad requirements:

Be a man: We’ve never had a woman CEO (although 34% of India’s IT workforce is female). In any case, we’re not a bank.

Be an engineer, preferably an IIT alum: All of our five previous CEOs have been engineers, and three of them went to an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) before joining us. The other two went to Boston University and Stanford University. Bonus points for the ability to casually discuss quantum mechanics over a cup of coffee—but that does not guarantee job-term longevity.

Be a realist: We may be NYSE-listed but we’re still Indian. So, revenues will not double in five years, our intelligence will not become artificial overnight, and years of cost arbitrage won’t give way to innovation easily. Actually, the IT industry is such a mess right now, we don’t even have a real strategy. But as they say in our biggest revenue-generating market, “Keep it real.”

Be a people person: With about 200,000 employees to deal with—many of who are either overworked, petrified about losing their jobs, currently negotiating another gig, or all of that—you must have inimitable flair, unending patience, and a great repertoire of motivational quotes. Kindly note that even that may not be enough. However, failure is solely your responsibility.

Be respectful to elders: You must be a practitioner of Indian sanskar, and genuflect before the founders of Infosys, who continue to hold a 12.75% stake in the company. Inability to do so will result in termination, one way or the other.

Be an immigration expert: Visa must be your favourite four-letter word. You should possess an oracle-like insight into how the US and major European countries will tweak their immigration regime. Inability to do so will result in attending uncomfortable press conferences in little-known US states and promising jobs where you’ll unnecessarily pay engineers fair double wages.

Be in love with airplanes/airports: With clients in over 50 countries, you’ll travel a lot. The previous incumbent spent around 800 hours in the air in 2016, with 99 commercial flights and 17 private flights. (Please note: The private flight option may not be currently available).

Be a public relations guru: All applicants must be proficient in major social media platforms, namely Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Extensive experience of relaying corporate jargon, frequent digressions, and excruciating long sentences to bamboozle overeager media would be welcome. Proven ability to handle two-hour-long press conferences is preferred.

Be thick-skinned: You must be unflappable, unperturbed, and cool-headed in the face of all crises, external or internal. Pay no heed to what former executives, analysts or others say. Except when founders reprimand, prostrate immediately.

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