Infosys named former SAP AG top executive Vishal Sikka as Chief Executive Officer, the first time it has not chosen one of its founders for the role, as it looks to regain market share and stem a staff exodus.
India's second-largest IT services exporter said Executive Chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy would step down on Saturday, nearly a year after he was brought in from retirement to help the company better compete with rivals including Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro.
Murthy's tenure, during which he also brought in his son Rohan as an executive assistant, has been marred by high staff turnover and management uncertainty, factors that led to loss of market share for a company that was once a leader in India's $100-plus billion a year IT export business, and intensified investor pressure for a change of guard.
Commenting on his appointment, Vishal Sikka said, “I am honored to lead Infosys, an iconic company built by pioneers in the technology industry. I look forward to working with and learning from talented Infoscions around the world."
"Computing technology is reshaping every industry across every walk of life. We, at Infosys, have a unique opportunity to deliver breakthrough solutions that will bring greater value to our clients, employees, investors and other stakeholders. I am grateful to the Infosys Nominations and Governance Committee, Mr. Kamath, Mr. Murthy and the Board for this opportunity,” he added.
“I am pleased with the selection of Dr. Vishal Sikka as our new CEO,” said Narayana Murthy, adding, “Vishal brings valuable experience as a leader of a large, global corporation. His illustrious track record and value system make him an ideal choice to lead Infosys.”
Sikka's biggest challenge as Infosys CEO will be to fill the leadership vacuum created by the exodus of senior executives, many of whom were responsible for key business sectors and winning clients, analysts said.
A former executive board member of German business software company SAP, Sikka will take over on August 1 from current CEO S.D. Shibulal, who along with Murthy, Executive Vice Chairman S. Gopalakrishnan and four others founded Infosys in 1981 by pooling together $250. Gopalakrishnan is also set to step down on Saturday.
Some investors welcomed the move.
"The good thing is that at least the uncertainty is all over and as an investor I can take a call on Infosys on a reasonably long term,