Mumbai, April 19: The smokescreen over the top-level shakeup at Infosys — the $6-billion software giant — has started to dissolve amid a welter of recriminations.
T.V. Mohandas Pai — who stunned the markets and the world of information technology last Friday by resigning as director (human resources) at the 1.3-lakh strong software giant on the very day that it reported weak fourth-quarter results — has now slammed the Infosys management for being too conservative and displaying a lack of transparency in the selection of its next chief executive officer.
Pai told a news channel on Tuesday that Infosys had started to lose ground to its rivals because of the conservatism of its founders.
We have seen the competition overtake us in some areas in the last three years. We have seen the unique position that we have (start to) decline, Pai said. Pai joined Infosys in 1994 and went on to head the finance function before moving on as director, human resources.
He seemed to think that Infosys wasnt being transparent in the way it was selecting the person who would replace Kris Gopalakrishnan as the new CEO of the company.
The company is due to unveil a succession plan after a board meeting on April 30. It is likely to name the new CEO as well as the person who will succeed chairman and chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy when he steps aside in August.
S.D. Shibulal — the chief operating officer and one of the seven founders — is tipped to take over as the CEO.
Pai has insisted that he was never in the race for the top job at the countrys second-largest software exporter. However, his comments failed to mask either his frustration over being passed over or his bitterness over the way the succession was being crafted.
When you choose a CEO, you should have a very transparent process and you choose the best person, Pai said in his latest interview.
There have been some rumours that 52-year-old Pai and Shibulal do not share very good vibes and that could be the reason for the latest outburst. The Infosys board currently has four of the seven founders: N.R. Narayana Murthy (64), Kris Gopalakrishnan (56), S.D. Shibulal (56), and K. Dinesh (57).
Pai seemed to be bitter about the way the founders seemed to be calling the shots and curbing the ambitions of the others who had joined later.
Pai believes that Infosys needs fresh ideas that will take it to the pinnacle rather than try and defend the status quo. To destroy the status quo, you need fresh blood, he said.
In 17 years, we have lost three generation of leaders. We should not lose the next generation too because they may feel they may not get a shot at sitting in the (hot) seat, Pai added.
He seemed to take a hard swipe at the founders when he said, Life is all about tomorrow, not about yesterday. If you run the marathon for long, you will be tired. And if you are tired, you cant look after the future.
Youve got to see who is fresh, who is energetic, Pai said even as he continued to insist that he wasnt interested in the CEOs position.
That is not my aspiration. If I wanted to be the CEO, I would have stepped up and said, I want to be CEO.
Last Friday, Pai had said Narayana Murthy had offered him the post of COO or the CEO. In an interview with another television channel yesterday, Murthy clarified the position on the offer to Pai.
Murthy said he had merely offered to make a recommendation to the nominations committee if Pai was so inclined to take up the position of COO or CEO.