Infosys’ founders are all leaving management to let the new CEO, Vishal Sikka, do his thing

Vishal Sikka, the CEO-designate at Infosys.
Vishal Sikka, the CEO-designate at Infosys.
Image: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
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Infosys Ltd, the once-bellwether-now-beleaguered software company, has named Vishal Sikka as its new CEO and managing director. Sikka is a 47-year-old former executive at SAP.

This is a historic moment. Not only is Sikka the first CEO who has not been a founder at India’s second-largest software exporter, but, even more significantly, the founders are getting out of his way.

  • N.R. Narayana Murthy, the company’s first CEO who was brought back from retirement last year to run the company, will step down on 14 June. He will be named chairman emeritus in October.
  • Murthy’s son, Rohan Murthy, who was working with his father in chairman’s office, will also leave the company.
  • CEO S.D. Shibulal will resign on July 31, and will resign from the board on the same day.
  • Executive vice-chairman Kris Gopalakrishnan will step down on June 14 and continue as non-executive vice-chairman till October.

With the exit of Murthy, Shibulal and Gopalakrishnan, no Infosys founder will remain in the company’s management. This is a critical shift for the 33-year-old company that has always had founders in key management roles. K.V. Kamat will continue as non-executive chairman.

Sikka headed products and innovation at SAP, where he earlier served as the company’s first chief technology officer. The Vadodara, Gujarat-born Sikka holds a PhD in computer science from Stanford University. His background at SAP gives Infosys a significant edge as IT companies look to gain a foothold in more profitable areas like cloud computing, big data, robotics, and artificial intelligence.