Banker Kamath to succeed Narayana Murthy at Infosys (Roundup)

May 1st, 2011 - 3:52 am ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, April 30 (IANS) High profile banker K.V. Kamath will be the new chairman of India’s IT bellwether Infosys, becoming the first non-founder to head the country’s second largest software exporter battling to boost revenues in a recession-hit global economy.

Rejigging the top leadership in the 30-year-old company, the Infosys Technologies board also named one of the founders and present chief executive officer and managing director S. Gopalakrishnan as the executive co-chairman.

Another founder, S.D. Shibulal, now chief operating officer, will succeed Gopalakrishnan.

All the appointments will be effective Aug 21, the day the iconic N.R. Narayana Murthy, who founded the company with six others with a few thousand borrowed rupees, retires as chairman on attaining the age of 65 years.

His association with the company, however, will continue as he has been chosen chairman emeritus.

Announcing the revamp in the leadership, Murthy told reporters here “Vaman (Kamath) is, in my opinion, one of the finest corporate leaders of modern India. Kris (Gopalakrishnan) demonstrated high-class performance during testing times for the industry and the company.”

Kamath, best known for turning the ICICI (Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India) into India’s largest private bank, is also an engineer with a Master’s in business administration from the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad.

Kamath graduated in mechanical engineering from Karnataka Regional Engineering College in Surathkal, about 30 km from Mangalore, his birthplace on Karnataka’s west coast.

Kamath’s experience in aggressive marketing of ICICI Bank services and products should come in handy for Infosys to increase its revenues as the world economy slowly recovers from the slowdown and keep ahead of other home grown competitors like Wipro and several major foreign IT companies.

“This is a great moment for Infosys. These three leaders meld an extraordinary range of talents and experiences with a united commitment to drive the company to unprecedented levels of accomplishment while remaining true to its historic values,” nominations committee chairman Jeffery S. Lehman said in a statement.

Murthy said he was glad the committee found a perfect team to strengthen customer, investor and employee connect on one hand and world-class board governance on the other.

“Infosys is a company which has been built by its founders, led by a visionary leader Murthy, who as its chief executive and then as its chairman and chief mentor, provided its thought leadership over the years,” Kamath said, accepting the high-profile post.

Murthy, who built the 30-year-old company from scratch to a $6 billion global software major, expressed gratitude to the board for appointing him as the company’s chairman emeritus and providing him an opportunity to add value to the board, the executive management and every Infoscion if asked by them.

“Vaman, Kris and Shibu will make an ideal team. I have no doubt Shibu will do an excellent job like Kris did as the new chief executive,” Murthy said.

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