Vishal Sikka to be Infosys CEO and MD, Murthy to step down as chairman

Bangalore, 12 June-2014(Indilens Web Team): After months of searching for a new CEO, Infosys chairman NR Narayana Murthy today took to Twitter to welcome Vishal Sikka as the IT firm’s CEO and MD and also announced that he would be voluntarily stepping down from his post with effect from 14 June.

It’s final: Vishal Sikka to be Infosys CEO and MD, Murthy to step down as chairman
Vishal Sikka to be Infosys CEO and MD, Image Credit: Reuters

Murthy tweeted this morning:

Narayana Murthy @Infosys_nmurthy

“Happy to welcome Vishal @vsikka to Infosys. I am confident that Infosys is in capable hands.”

And met with the response:

Vishal Sikka @vsikka

“Humbled to lead @Infosys an iconic pioneer in IT. Looking fwd to learn & work w/ infoscions & global clients on breakthrough innovation.”

In its announcement to the Bombay Stock Exchange, the company said that Sikka would be inducted as whole time director of the board and will take over as the CEO and MD from 1 August.

Infosys also announced that Murthy would be stepping down as chairman from 14 June and would be chairman emeritus. KV Kamath will take over as the non-executive chairman. S Gopalakrishnan will also be stepping down as Executive Vice Chairman.

Murthy’s son, Rohan Murty, will also be leaving the company on 14 June.

The company said that president and whole-time director UB Pravin Rao would be taking over as COO of the company. The company said it would be elevating 12 executives to the position of executive vice-president with additional responsibilities.

Former Infosys executive V Balakrishnan said that it wasn’t certain whether Sikka was the right choice just yet.

“It will take him a while to adjust to the services industry since he comes from a products background…The jury is out on whether Sikka will be able to deliver,” V Balakrishnan, former HR head of Infosys told CNBC-TV18.

He welcomed Murthy stepping down from the post of chairman saying it was “the right message”.

“Vishal has to operate freely otherwise this arrangement won’t work,” he said.

Sikka abruptly quit from SAP in May after working there for seven years as the Chief Technology Officer and was on its executive board for three years. He was also on the global managing board of the company was responsible for development of all products in the company. During his tenure, the company developed its in-memory platform HANA.

Sikka, the son of an Indian Railways officer, completed his schooling in Baroda before studying computer engineering in the city. He then studied in Syracuse University and did his PhD on artificial intelligence from Stanford University.

After successful private ventures, Sikka joined SAP as its first CTO in 2007 and as Firstbiz columnist R ‘Ray’ Wang noted.

As SAP’s CTO, Vishal served as the outward and inward face of innovation within SAP. He was tasked with renewing not only the legacy software company’s platforms, but also the internal culture of innovation. His most notable accomplishments include a design thinking approach to software development, the SAP HANA platform, and the push to cloud and mobile for SAP.

Sikka was successful in re-elevating SAP’s relevance as an innovator. More importantly, he showed that SAP could innovate outside of Germany, build a culture of innovation, and set a new course free from the constraints of dependency from competitors.

Sikka’s resignation from SAP was reportedly due to an internal power struggle and according to a Business Insider report he was a victim of negative perceptions in Germany over the fact that SAP was becoming too American.