Earlier today, it was announced that KV Kamath would become Chairman of Infosys – a major Indian and international IT services company that’s based in Bangalore.
In my book titled ‘India’s Inc – How India’s Top 10 Entrepreneurs Are Winning Globally’, I interviewed and included Kamath – although he wasn’t an entrepreneur per se – simply because he’d taken a boring, old world, finance institution and made it globally competitive – displaying all the traits that successful entrepreneurs display while building their businesses. In the book, I called him ‘India’s banker’ as ICICI had truly become a force in India. Their retail operations were slick, their corporate and investment bank delivered exceptional returns etc. The thing that truly marked him out, though, was his fascination with technology. He could have easily been the Chief Technology Officer for ICICI, such was his grasp of the potential technology held to provide a well deserved boost to his company.
For this reason, it came as no surprise that KVK, on retirement as CEO of ICICI, was asked to serve in Infy’s Board. So in many respects, this announcement also doesn’t come as a major surprise to the markets.
Interestingly, Narayana Murthy, founder and soon to retire Chairman of Infosys, also features in my book. Murthy’s known for many things but what stuck out was his commitment to retiring from Infosys as per the governance of the company. In many cases, such words are seen as niceties as it’s widely expected that their next generation will take over, so for this reason its important to mention and celebrate an entrepreneur who’s kept to his word on this – not that anyone has ever doubted it.
Recently, I’ve also read some of the media coverage around succession at Infosys in particular, which despite being interesting to ponder, is in fact a sign of things to come. Mr Murthy and his band of founders will retire soon. Whilst they claim that Infosys will thrive without them, Kamath’s appointment is a litmus test on their faith in the company that they’ve built.
It’ll be worth keeping an eye on Infosys, that’s for sure.