A Look Back: Why Infosys Needs K.V. Kamath

It was clear that N.R. Narayana Murthy's successor would have to be a bold risk-taker. We bet on K.V. Kamath and got it bang on

Published: May 27, 2011 06:06:22 AM IST
Updated: Feb 27, 2014 01:37:40 PM IST
A Look Back: Why Infosys Needs K.V. Kamath

WHY WE DID THE STORY: This was our second cover on Infosys and was written at a time when speculation was raging over who would be the next chairman of the company. N.R.N. Murthy had announced he would retire in August 2011 and the nominations committee had little more than a year to find his replacement. The odds were heavily stacked in favour of K.V. Kamath. No one at that time knew what Kamath would do when he came in. There were signs that Infosys was slipping from its pedestal as the bellwether stock.

Outwardly there were no signs of trouble, Infosys was growing and was still the most profitable company in the sector. But internally a debate was raging — how long will Infosys conform to the Murthy doctrine? How long were the founders going to hold operational roles?

It took me almost three months to figure all this out. Forbes India Editor Indrajit Gupta and Executive Editor Charles Assisi went over several versions of the draft. Gupta spent hours discussing the story with me, never giving up on the idea. What he taught me was a valuable lesson. He said, ‘You cannot always use past data to analyse future events. Infosys was and is a great company, but the question really is — Will it remain a great company?’

(You can read this story here)

On April 30, as soon as I heard that Kamath was indeed going to be the next chairman of Infosys, I immediately sent a message to Gupta — pat on our backs.

We got many things in the story right — Kamath’s appointment, Mohandas Pai’s decision to leave the company, Murthy staying on as chairman emeritus and S.D. Shibulal’s appointment as the next CEO. What we didn’t get right was how much Kamath would be able to achieve as an independent chairman. The board’s decision to announce two chairmen instead of one will surely limit Kamath’s free will.

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(This story appears in the 03 June, 2011 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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  • Anil Billaiya

    No doubt, Mr. K.V.Kamath will take Infosys in a gala high position as he did with ICICI Bank........

    on Sep 15, 2011
  • Hanish Chhabra

    I want to know about current ceo of wipro

    on Jun 3, 2011
  • Anonymous

    While Infosys may be one of the largest B1/B2 visa abuser, they are hardly the only company in India misusing B1/B2 visas. Every tech jobseeker in India knows about B1/B2 job ads for positions in the USA. Every day, hundreds of employers advertise thousands of B1/B2 visa positions on India job boards for USA positions India Inc. and many unscrupulous US employers go through elaborate schemes to prevent American job seekers from applying for these jobs that include technical hoops to hide these jobs from US jobseekers. These employers - violate US law and commit visa fraud - Brazenly bypass American citizens and ignore US Civil Rights law passed in the 1960s to prevent segregated employment- Do not care about their B1/B2 visa employees who illegally work in the USA. Like their employers, these B1/B2 visa workers are committing visa fraud. Visa fraud, including misrepresentation of reasons for traveling, is a federal felony with 10 years in prison for a first offense.

    on May 27, 2011
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