Infosys brings co-founder Murthy back as executive chairman

Infosys has brought its co-founder, former CEO and chairman NR Narayan Murthy out of retirement to serve as its executive chairman, in an apparent bid to reverse the company's dwindling fortunes. 

In its latest financial year, which ended on 31 March, the Indian IT services grew revenues by just under 6% to $7.4 billion. This is a far cry from the 20% to 30% annual growth rates the Indian outsourcers enjoyed before the credit crunch, and behind many of its competitors. 

According to recent figures from analyst company Gartner, Infosys was overtaken as the Indian IT industry's second largest supplier last year by Cognizant, whose revenues grew 20%.

In a letter to Infosys employees announcing his return, Murthy said the company "has gone through some challenging times.

"The need of the day is to focus on our employees; take quick, tough and firm decisions; communicate these decisions with clarity and speed; execute these decisions with speed, imagination and excellence; and exceed the expectations of our customers and investors."

Murthy said that he will take a salary of 1 Rupee, and that he has appointed his son Rohan – a computer scientist currently studying at Harvard University – as his executive assistant. 

Shares in Infosys rose by nearly 9% following the announcement, to their highest value this year.  

Murthy, 66, was one of the company's six co-founders and served as CEO from its founding in 1981 until 2002, when he became chairman. He retired in 2011 and set up an investment firm.

Gartner's recent research found that, although Infosys and rival Wipro suffered slow growth in 2012, the Indian IT services industry as a whole is still "chipp[ing] away market share from the large multinational corporation providers". 

"In the past five years, they have been winning large outsourcing deals (those with a total contract value of more than $100 million)," wrote analyst Arup Roy. "Their target customer segment still remains the Fortune 1000 companies. Most of these firms have a large-deal pursuit sales team that goes after deals of more than $35 million in contract value."

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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