Infosys turned bureaucratic at times: Murthy

In an emotional letter to Infosys' shareholders, which would be his last as the company's chairman, Murthy has also said he was sad about exit of some of his colleagues from India's second largest IT company.

Listing out 'the moments of great dilemmas and sadness' during his 30-year tenure at Infosys, the company's founding member said: "Accepting the resignation of a senior colleague and dealing with the instance where our code of ethics was jeopardised were tests of adherence to our values".

The letter from Murthy, who would be succeeded by eminent banker K V Kamath as Infosys Chairman with effect from August 21, has been published in the company's annual report for 2010-11. Thereafter, Murthy will serve as Chairman Emeritus.

Murthy further said: "Occasional incidents of the organisation turning bureaucratic, the inability of some of our leaders to take quick and firm decisions, and the government-company interface becoming less business-friendly from time to time are things that make me sad".

"But then, this tapestry of happy and not-so-happy incidents is normal and keeps life exciting," he quickly added.

He also mentioned about refusing 'unreasonable terms' of business even at the cost of losing business with a Fortune-10 (one of the world's ten largest companies).

Murthy said it was disheartening "bidding goodbye" to some bright colleagues.
"Deliberating all alone on the resignation offer of a co-founder is not something I would wish even upon my enemy," he added.

Possibly hitting towards the recent incidents when two directors, K Dinesh and T V Mohandas Pai, resigned from the company, Murthy said: "Being accused of violating our own high standards of business ethics recently made me lose several nights of sleep".

Pai had reportedly said that he did not agree with the company practice of seniority getting a priority over meritocracy in deciding the leadership team.

Likening Infosys' journey as an "extraordinary marathon," Murthy said that "some people drop out of the marathon since they do not see any value in an organisation when their own time under the arc light is over".

"A leader's responsibility is to recognise this, provide them opportunities outside the organisation and usher in suitable replacements. Infosys' journey is replete with many such examples," he said.

Murthy said that it was necessary for leaders to take bold and firm decisions in an environment of uncertainty.

He said he had to explain to his colleagues when he refused to do business with a Fortune-10 company.

"My decision to walk away from a Fortune-10 company when they contributed 25 per cent of our revenue was one such example of decision making under uncertainty."

"It was a tough decision that was taken so calmly and firmly that the head of sales at Infosys at that time thought I was not bothered about the future of the company!" he said.

"I had to explain to him that I did not indeed agonise over it, but that, as a leader, I could not be driven by panic since such an important decision required a calm and composed mind," Murthy noted.

He asserted Infosys has demonstrated that business can be run legally and ethically and it was possible for an Indian company to benchmark with the best in the world.

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