Balakrishnan, Vemuri are front-runners for Infy board

Balakrishnan, Vemuri are front-runners for Infy board
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First Published: Sun, Jun 28 2009. 09 21 PM IST

Power job: (left) Infosys chief financial officer V. Balakrishnan; and Ashok Vemuri, the company’s head of banking and capital markets. Hemant Mishra / Mint
Power job: (left) Infosys chief financial officer V. Balakrishnan; and Ashok Vemuri, the company’s head of banking and capital markets. Hemant Mishra / Mint
Updated: Sun, Jun 28 2009. 09 21 PM IST
Bangalore: The chief financial officer (CFO) of Infosys Technologies Ltd, V. Balakrishnan, and its head of banking and capital markets, Ashok Vemuri, are likely to be inducted on to the board of directors of the country’s second largest software services company, two people familiar with the development said on condition of anonymity.
Infosys’ board currently has 15 members, of which eight are independent directors and seven company representatives.
Power job: (left) Infosys chief financial officer V. Balakrishnan; and Ashok Vemuri, the company’s head of banking and capital markets. Hemant Mishra / Mint
An additional vacancy on the board was created after Nandan Nilekani resigned on Thursday as co-chairman and board member of the software exporter to head the Unique Identification Authority of India, a project that aims to provide each citizen an identity card and number similar to the US social security number. His resignation will take effect from 9 July.
“After Nandan’s resignation, there are six company representatives and eight independent directors. Traditionally, it is the norm to have a company representative for each independent director. So the thinking is to induct two members on the board,” said one of the two people familiar with the development. “The CFO position has always been one which is represented on the board. After (T.V. Mohandas) Pai’s moved to HR (human resources), that slot has remained empty. So Bala(krishnan) will be offered a board membership.”
Vemuri’s banking and capital markets division is the largest at Infosys, and fetches at least one-fourth of its revenues, giving him an edge for board membership.
Infosys posted revenue of Rs21,693 crore and net profit of Rs5,988 crore in the fiscal year ended March.
Infosys chief executive officer (CEO) S. Gopalakrishnan said nobody is slated to take over as co-chairman at the moment. He declined to comment on who (all) would be elevated to the board.
“The board will take that decision (on any additions to the board),” Gopalakrishnan said. “We have handled transitions seamlessly in the past; we are confident that we will be able to handle (this). We have a deep depth in leadership.”
The Infosys board will meet on 9 July, and the elevation announcements are likely to coincide with the declaration of the first quarterly results of the company on 10 July.
Both Balakrishnan, 44, and Vemuri, 41, are already part of the powerful 11-member executive council—a senior management team created in 2007 and endowed by the Infosys board with “operational oversight of the entire company”. The executive council, chaired by the CEO, runs the day-to-day operations.
Vemuri is based in the US, from where Infosys gets 62% of its revenues, while Balakrishnan is based in Bangalore.
Other members of the executive council in contention for board membership include: Chandra Shekar Kakal, senior vice-president, enterprise solutions; B.G. Srinivas, senior vice-president, manufacturing and product engineering; and Subhash Dhar, senior vice-president, communications, media and entertainment, the person mentioned earlier said.
As co-chairman, Nilekani was handling multiple roles at Infosys, including key client relationships, and leading transformation initiatives. These roles will now be distributed among various people.
“I will take on some; others will also take on (additional responsibilities),” said Gopalakrishnan.
Balakrishnan has been with Infosys since 1991 and was made CFO in 2006.
He has a bachelor of science from the University of Madras, and is an associate member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, the Institute of Company Secretaries of India and the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India.
Vemuri is likely to handle key client relationships and contribute to strategy, said a person familiar with the development.
Vemuri is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and has been with Infosys for about a decade. In 2008-09, he was one of the highest-paid executives at Infosys, with an annual salary and incentives package of Rs4.04 crore.
He headed Infosys’ Canadian and eastern North American operations before being elevated to head the banking and capital markets division. Before joining Infosys, Vemuri worked for Bank of America Corp. and Deutsche Bank AG.
venkatesha.b@livemint.com
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First Published: Sun, Jun 28 2009. 09 21 PM IST