Bangalore: New chairman of Infosys Ltd, the veteran banker K V Kamath says his background does not matter at the IT company given his governance oversight role but acknowledged that he does have a unique insight into driving technology.
Kamath, who succeeded N R Narayana Murthy at the Bangalore-headquartered, Nasdaq-listed firm, nearly a month ago, said Infosys is a well established company with processes which are clearly defined, and his role would be what is expected of an independent non executive Board Chairman, namely governance oversight.
Asked how he saw the new assignment coming as he did from outside the company, Kamath, who is also non-executive chairman of ICICI Bank, said if one looked at the role (governance oversight), then it does not matter what would have been his background.
“As it happens having been at the centre stage in driving technology in ICICI Bank through a period when large scale disruption of technology was taking place, gives one a rather unique insight”, he told PTI in an exclusive interview.
Kamath heaped praise on his predecessor.
“Murthy is someone who has written a new chapter in Indian business. He proved that a professional team, driven by passion can create enormous value for all stake holders while upholding the highest standards of governance” , he said. “My role would be to take this forward. I do recoginse that this is an enormous shift that is taking place, a transition after almost thirty years of iconic leadership”.
The legacy of Murthy is that he has left behind a value system that he created and nurtured throughout the organisation. “This in addition to all else that he did, such as empower people, motivate them, create a process driven company which can replicate and scale its business model”.
Murthy also taught the organisation to be nimble, proactive and constantly scan the environment to seek out and implement strategies which could disrupt existing paradigms, thereby creating value both for customers and Infosys, according to Kamath.
He also echoed the sentiments of Murthy, who in his farewell speech had pitched for measuring of performance at the individual level, over the team one.
“Performance level has indeed to be measured at the individual level in addition to the team level. Without doing this, the measurement of performance, the feedback loop, and raising the bar for all would probably not be possible. This is how true meritocracies would work”, Kamath observed.
Asked about the impact of turbulence in the global economic and financial situation on the Indian IT industry, he said his personal assessment is that this would be good for all knowledge companies out of this country.
“The reason is that turbulence in our customer markets would mean our customers would seek even greater operational efficiency and productivity gains”, he said. “If Indian knowledge sector players can prove that they can partner in these areas, and deliver value, a win-win opportunity develops. I am reasonably sure this is going to happen”.