Economic Times of India

Mohandas Pai Likely to Assume Key Role at Infosys


In the iconic status that the duo of NR Narayana Murthy and Nandan M Nilekani enjoyed, Mr. Murthy was the visionary and Mr. Nilekani, the management man with great people skills. Around three decades ago, both Mr. Murthy and Mr. Nilekani, along with four others, founded Infosys, and later played an active role in establishing it as a credible and ethical brand globally. Now with Mr. Nilekani stepping down from the Infosys board, this role will have to be filled by one of the existing members. Mr. Nilekani's resignation also leaves room for the company to induct a new face on the board from within the second generation of leaders it is grooming. Mr. Nilekani was also actively involved with Infosys' M&A strategy. In fact, he played an instrumental role in identifying Axon as a potential acquisition target last year. "He really pushed for Axon, but things did not go the way Infosys had predicted. Mr. Nilekani has been involved with several M&A discussions since then," said a person familiar with Infosys' M&A strategy. He requested anonymity because he is not authorised to share any details about Infosys' acquisition strategy. The natural successor to the role of promoting and evangelising brand Infosys could fall on the company's former CFO and now a board member, Mohandas Pai. Not only has Mr. Pai been with Infosys long enough to be its brand ambassador, he is also a wellknown public face of the firm. He has been associated with many firsts at Infosys , including its landmark ADR, making Infosys the first Indian firm to list on an American stock exchange. "He's (Pai) never handled business delivery but he's eloquent and perhaps most likely choice to take on the role of the brand ambassador. The Infosys brand is big-not only in India, but globally," says R Suresh, MD, Stanton Chase India. Nilekani's resignation from the Infosys board-the first by a founderpromoter-CEO-also signals a larger, more significant development which analysts, peers and even clients will be keenly watching out for. "Whoever comes on board will be the likely successor to the CEO position," says Alok Shende, principal analyst, Ascentius Consulting. Although it could be a few years away, industry experts are placing their bets on one of the four-B G Srinivas, Ashok Vemuri, Subhash Dhar or Chandra Sekhar Kakal. The four are among the second generation of leaders that Infosys is grooming in its tradition of building leaders, who can seamlessly take over from where his predecessor has left off. One of the strong contenders for a board position could also be Amitabh Chaudhry, CEO of Infosys BPO, according to industry observers . Now, a fully-owned subsidiary , BPO has become an important growth area for Infosys. CHANGES...
Why Mohandas Pai? Mohandas Pai, former CFO and now a board member, has been with Infosys long enough to be its brand ambassador. He is also a well-known public face of the firm. He has been associated with many firsts at Infosys, including its landmark ADR. What's so special about new board member? Whoever comes on board will be the likely successor to the CEO position And the candidates are... Industry experts are placing their bets on: B G Srinivas, Ashok Vemuri, Subhash Dhar, Chandra Sekhar Kakal and Amitabh Chaudhry. They are among the secondgeneration of leaders that Infosys is grooming in its tradition of building leaders, who can seamlessly take over from where his predecessor has left off.

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