Narayan Murthy bid farewell to Infosys, the top Indian IT company that he founded in 1981. Under his guidance, the company was listed on NASDAQ in 1999. Even before Infosys, he had established a company called Softronics which never worked out. He borrowed Rs 10,000 from his wife Sudha Murthy to form Infosys with six other engineers, a company that boasts of a market cap f Rs 1,27,000 crore.
Murthy will exit as chairman but continue to remain Chairman Emeritus, which means he will not have executive powers in the company. He will not be attending board meetings but can guide board members personally whenever he wants to. He will also retain a cabin in the office. He is handing over charge to KV Kamath who has been on the board since 2009.
"I would be called Chairman Emeritus. I will have a room which I can use if I want… but as propriety demands, I will have no say in any matter, I will not be allowed to attend any board meetings or any meetings. I can meet anybody personally,” Murthy had said earlier.
Murthy has always been a darling of Indian masses and media for having a reputation of integrity and honesty. Economic Times carried a piece on 30 lessons from the life of Narayan Murthy where they enumerate his favourite quotes like “In God we trust, everything else must come up with data.” Murthy has always been an engaging speaker and a good listener too. Impressed with too many questions by a fellow shareholder in an annual general meeting, Murthy hired Mohandas Pai who later helped list Infosys on NASDAQ.
Perhaps his biggest influence on Indian youth has been his simplicity. In spite of being the poster boy of Indian IT, he stays in a simple house and has a simple lifestyle. And just as he showed how to create wealth, he knows how to let go of it as well. His charity efforts and his resignation are proofs of just that.
In a testimony to Murthy’s impact on the economy, Time magazine had named him among the Indians who are leading the country into its “next six decades”.
Murthy has led key corporate governance initiatives in India. He is an IT adviser to several Asian countries.
Besides juggling responsibilities at Infosys and at his venture capital initiative, Catamaran Investment Private Ltd, Murthy also serves on the boards of various entities, including HSBC, the Ford Foundation, Cornell University and Wharton School.
Murthy comes from a humble background and even after becoming a billionaire, he continues to lead a simple life.
Murthy had the opportunity to lead a public life, but declined an offer from former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee to join the government. He had then felt Infosys needed him more. He now wants to focus his energies on mentoring and funding the next generation of Indian entrepreneurs.
Murthy’s outstanding leadership qualities have been universally recognised and he serves on the boards of some of the world’s biggest companies and organisations. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second-highest civilian award after the Bharat Ratna, in 2008. Besides, he has also been awarded the Légion d’Honneur by the French government and the Commander of the Order of the British Empire by the British government.
Updated Date: Aug 22, 2011 10:22:30 IST