Murthy rules out returning to Infosys again

Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy on Monday ruled out returning to the company as he did in June 2013, three years after retiring in August 2011.

“There is no need for anybody to get get back from outside to lead Infosys, as a very good set of people, headed by chief executive Vishal Sikka, is running it,” Murthy told reporters at the company’s 34th annual general meeting (AGM) here.

Murthy’s clarification came in response to many shareholders asking him to come back again and head the $8.7 billion company at a time when the IT industry was facing multiple challenges.

“They (shareholders) are saying such things because of some affection. Reality is we should allow the new team to run it, support it and cheer it from outside,” said Murthy after attending the AGM as a promoter shareholder with his wife Sudha Murthy, chairperson of Infosys Foundation.

There were many demands for Murthy’s return.

“As Murthy is to Infosys what Mahatma Gandhi was to India, he should continue to be at the helm of the company,” shareholder G.V. Ramana Reddy said at the AGM.
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Murthy, who returned from retirement on June 1, 2013 to head the troubled company as chairman, stepped down abruptly a year later (June 14, 2014) after reviving its sagging fortunes and finding Sikka as a worthy successor.

Terming those on the company’s board as smart, dedicated and hard working, he said the board members want the best for the company and the co-founders were fully them.

“He (Sikka) has been working hard and brought lot of good ideas. I am sure he will deliver. We have to be patient,” Murthy said after sitting in the front row for the first time facing the dais where he chaired AGMs over the years.

Noting Sikka had set a $20 billion revenue target by 2020, he said it was indeed a very ambitious one and he wished him the best.

“He (Sikka) has set an aspirational target. We should all support him and pray that he succeeds,” Murthy quipped before leaving the venue while the meeting was only half way through.

Incidentally, barring Murthy, six other founders – Nandan Nilekani, A.S. Gopalakrishnan, S.D. Shibulal, K. Dinesh, N.S. Raghavan and Ashok Arora – were conspicuously absent at the AGM though they continue to be promoter shareholders.