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Infosys co-chairman optimistic about Vishal Sikka, says CEO won't leave

Press Trust of India / Bengaluru 27 Jul 17 | 02:29 PM

Infosys CEO & MD, Vishal Sikka speaks during a press conference at Infosys headquarters in Bengaluru on Thursday

Infosys Co-Chairman Ravi Venkatesan is hopeful that CEO Vishal Sikka would deliver results for the company and not think of leaving it because of losing high-profile talents.

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Venkatesan stated this when asked if he sees Sikka turning things around for Infosys or turning his back on the company for failing to retain high-profile executives.

"Well I very much hope that it is the former (that Sikka will turn things around), not the latter (that he will turn his back on Infosys due to losing high-profile talents)," Venkatesan told PTI.

Market watchers are speculating over the stint of Sikka at Infosys in the backdrop of as many as 11 executives quitting the company after he took charge, the latest being Yusuf Bashir, who was leading the $500-million startup fund of software services for over two years. Talking about exits, Venkatesan said it was not a matter of great surprise because the executives were highly desired in IT industry. But the company needed to make sure that it did not lose talent, and the best way to retain them was to allow them to grow.

"But when the industry is changing so fast, boss, if people have an opportunity to become a CEO somewhere else and become number 2 somewhere else, we cannot stop them," he added.

Nevertheless, Venkatesan said, he felt bad if any of good employee left the company because he was an emotional person.

"We had a few exits, and I am an emotional person also. Every time a good employee leaves at any level, I feel bad about it," he said.

Replying to a query, Venkatesan said all stakeholders, including the founders and the promoters, will feel anxious due to cultural transition, which brings a sense of instability among them.

"I think the big challenge for all companies including us is to manage the cultural transition - changing the business model, market and business strategies.

"During this shift, there obviously is a sense of instability, and therefore employees feel anxious. Investors may feel anxious. Certainly, the people who built this company like the founders will feel anxious," he said. Venkatesan said during the stints of N R Narayana Murthy and Nandan Nilekani as the company heads, Infosys saw amazing performances because there was a tremendous amount of alignment between market, business model and culture.

"When market changes, you try to change your model; your strategy. Then what happens is, you start bringing in new people to fill the gap in new areas like digital. They come in with a different mindset and cultural orientation. They come in at different composition levels etc, and this creates stress in the system," he added.

Hence, it was the job of a board and senior management to manage transition. It was not about strategy, but managing people, anxieties, emotions and relationships in the process, Venkatesan said.

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