Bangalore: Phaneesh Murthy, chief executive officer (CEO) of iGate Corp., has reason to be happy with his company’s acquisition of what will eventually be an 83% stake in Patni Computer Systems Ltd for $1.22 billion (around Rs 5,540 crore). After being a peripheral player in the information technolgy (IT) services business for almost a decade, he once more has a seat at the high table; the new combined entity will have revenue close to $1 billion.
Murthy has previously said that IT services is a scale game. When Satyam Computer Services Ltd was for sale, iGate bid for it. It didn’t succeed then. It has now, with its bid for Patni.
Murthy may not admit it, but the 47-year-old does have a point to prove to his former colleagues at Infosys Technologies Ltd, a company he helped build. The story of Murthy’s rise and fall at Infosys is well known.
In 1992, the soft spoken, but tenacious graduate from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, was hired by Infosys’ co-founder and then chief operating officer Nandan Nilekani to help grow the sales of the company (then a mere $2 million).
For 10 years, till 23 July 2002, when he left (or was asked to leave, depending on alternative versions of the story) he did just that, and in such a fashion that he was often referred to as “the other Murthy” (founder N.R. Narayana Murthy being the original one).
Phaneesh Murthy has himself repeatedly referred to his role in growing Infosys’ revenue from $2 million to $700 million at the time of his departure, a story that infuriates a number of old Infosys hands, who feel it was more of a collective effort.
Murthy departed under the cloud of two sexual harassment suites he eventually settled and reinvented himself as an entrepreneur by setting up a back-office firm, Quintant Services, with funding from GMR Group. This company was eventually bought by iGate and he was named its CEO. Murthy cleaned up iGate’s multiple entities, took the public company private in India, and brought stability at the top.
“When I initially took over, I realized the importance of systems and process. While in my erstwhile company (he would not name Infosys) when I asked something to be done, it used to be. Here people, who had seen a procession of CEOs come and go, were just waiting and hoping that I will join them,” he said in a previous interview with this writer.