ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon Print

Inside the fight for the soul of Infosys

The boardroom drama reflects the disruption facing India's IT service industry

BANGALORE The symbolism was impossible to miss. A year into his tenure as the chief executive of Infosys, Vishal Sikka leaned down and touched the feet of Narayana Murthy, one of the company's co-founders and a driving force behind India's emergence in the global technology industry. As everyone in the Bangalore auditorium that day immediately understood, Sikka, 49 at the time, was using a traditional Indian gesture to seek the blessing of his elder, the 69-year-old Murthy. "What a pleasure," Murthy said. "What a pleasure."

Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy, far left, gathers with fellow Bangalore techies in the early days, before Infosys roared onto the global stage. (Courtesy of company)

Ever since Sikka had been named the first outsider to run Infosys on June 12, 2014, it seemed clear that a changing of the guard was underway. Murthy had built Infosys into a multibillion-dollar business by deploying armies of Indian software engineers to do back-office work for global companies like Accenture, Bank of America and Deutsche Bank. But that model was running out of steam. Sikka, a Stanford graduate who earned a reputation as an innovator at German software company SAP, was going to push Infosys hard into big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more