Infosys to cast wide net in CEO search, may go back to ‘alumni’

Infosys headquarters in Bengaluru.

Former Infoscions may well have a shot at clinching the top job as Infosys CEO, with the company looking at “alumni” along with internal and external candidates in its global search for the lead role.

Within hours of taking charge as Infosys non-executive chairman, Nandan Nilekani told investors on Friday that Infosys was going to “cast a very wide net” globally to get the best talent onboard.

“We are looking at internal candidates, external candidates and Infosys alumni,” he said.

Nilekani added there are Infoscions, who have left the company and have “charted their own success stories”.

“We have an open mind. It will be a global search… The goal is to find somebody who has the expertise in managing a global corporation, who can accelerate the execution of our strategy and has strong appreciation of the cultural transformation that is required,” he said.

Nilekani added that the candidate also has to possess “strong technology prowess” and should have the ability to “build and strengthen relationships with all stakeholders”.

There have been reports that officials like interim CEO Pravin Rao, CFO Ranganath D Mavinakere, president and deputy COO Ravi Kumar S and BFSI head Mohit Joshi are in fray for the top job.

With Infosys now looking at alumni as well, the contenders could include names like V Balakrishnan (ex-CFO), Mohandas Pai (former CFO and HR Head), Ashok Vemuri (former Americas Head and Board member) and B G Srinivas (former President).

Infosys — which has been in the midst of a face-off between the founders and management — would also look at recasting its board in the coming weeks.

Last week, Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka quit, citing slander. On Thursday, board chairman R Seshasayee along with two other members – Jeffrey Lehman and John Etchemendy – also put in their papers. Co-chair Ravi Venkatesan has now moved to the role of an independent director.

“We have an excellent nominations committee headed by a very well known and global entrepreneur like Kiran Mazumdar Shaw. Kiran and the nominations committee will drive the CEO selection,” he said.

Nilekani added that at the same time, the nomination committee will also come out with a plan on the future board composition and start looking for specific individuals.

Infosys Board currently includes independent directors – Roopa Kudva, Dr Punita Kumar-Sinha, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, DN Prahlad and D Sundaram. Interim CEO and managing director UB Pravin Rao is also a part of the board.

On his own stint, he said: “I plan to be here as long as necessary. I will not be here as soon as I am not necessary”.