Inevitable as it is, change comes in two forms. Some change is about evolution while others are about mutations. There are times when evolution is better and yet others when mutation is. I guess it really depends where in life you find yourself. Take Infosys for instance. Over the years, it evolved into this relentless machine that delivered on everything it promised — all credit to N.R. Narayana Murthy’s vision of what an IT services firm ought to be like.
Almost thirty years down the line, as he prepares to step down as chairman of the company, Infosys finds itself at a crossroads. The world it operates in is changing dramatically. What lies ahead are opportunities it never imagined, and threats it never perceived. To adapt though, it needs to mutate into a different animal. And to do that, it needs to take some pretty tough calls. By all accounts, there’s only one man who’s got the credentials to see Infosys through a gut wrenching transformation — K.V. Kamath of ICICI Bank. It’ll be a while though before we know for sure whether the board backs him for the top job.
What we have in this issue is a meticulously researched story that documents why the scales are tipping in favour of Kamath at Infosys. My colleague Mitu Jayashankar worked a couple of months to deliver this remarkably insightful story of how and why this change is happening.
Associate Editor Dinesh Narayanan brings us an equally fascinating story from Delhi about a now resurgent India Today — a magazine at least one generation of Indians has grown up on. Tarun Tejpal, editor of Tehelka, told him, “It used to be the voice of god.” Somewhere down the line though, the voice lost its resonance. But backed by publisher and editor Aroon Purie, its new editorial director M.J. Akbar is putting a plan in place to give back the voice the bite it deserves. Most people I know can’t wait to see the cat he sets among the pigeons. God speed!
Last year, Shloka Nath told you a riveting story of how SKS Microfinance was caught in a battle for its soul between the original mandate it held and the demands of a ruthless marketplace. As newspapers reported last week on the turmoil in SKS now, we realised how prescient her report had been. She hit the ground again to document the impact the whole saga has had on the industry.
And finally, Cuckoo Paul in Mumbai caught up with an elusive Rahul Bhatia of IndiGo Airlines to figure out how in the world does he manage to make profits operating an airline while everybody else around him have lost their shirts.Enjoy the read. And Happy Diwali!
(This story appears in the 05 November, 2010 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)