Vishal Sikka to head Infosys

BANGALORE (TIP): IT major Infosys named Vishal Sikka, former executive board member SAP AG, as its first nonfounder Chief Executive Officer. The Vadodara-born, doctorate in computer science from Stanford, will take over from incumbent S.D. Shibulal on August 1. The company said in an early morning filing to the exchanges on Thursday that company founders N.R. Narayana Murthy and S. Gopalakrishnan will step down as Executive Chairman and Executive Vice-Chairman on June 14.

However both co-founders will continue on the board to ensure “smooth transition” till October 10 in non-executive roles, post which Mr. Murthy will be Chairman Emeritus. Murthy’s office, which was set up last June when he returned from his retirement to “build a desirable Infosys, will be dissolved effective Saturday. Putting an end to speculation over a larger role for his son Rohan Murthy, Infosys announced that his appointment was co-terminus and he will exit the company on June 14.

The announcement brings to a close a tightly watched CEO hunt, which officially lasted exactly two months. On April 12, the second largest IT services exporter in the country had indicated that Shibulal might step down before his official retirement date in March 2015. Shibulal and Srinath Batni will step down from the board on July 31. Infosys also said that 12 leaders have been elevated to executive vicepresident roles, indicating a full management revamp.

Infosys also announced that president and whole-time director U.B. Pravin Rao has been elevated to the post of Chief Operating Officer. On the appointment, Sikka said, in the release, “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.”

Murthy, who first tweeted the announcement in the morning, said: “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.” He thanked the members of my office, the Chief Financial Officer and the head of Human Resources for their fabulous support through my second innings at Infosys. Gopalakrishnan commented, in the release, that he was glad that the Board chose a “thought leader who has demonstrated how technology can be leveraged to help businesses become more competitive”. Shibulal thanked the Board, employees and investors for the support.

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