Bangalore: At first sight there’s little to link the connection between the nondescript house in Bangalore’s Indiranagar and an announcement by Infosys Technologies Ltd on Wednesday that it would, to mark the 30th year of its existence, reward employees by giving them shares. Yet, it is the munificence of the resident of this house, V.A. Sastry, that’s responsible for the mini-bounty Infoscions, as the company’s employees are known, will enjoy.
Sastry (or Dr Sastry as some old-time Infoscions call him) was the first non-promoter director on the Infosys board. He sat on the board for six years, between 1990 and 1996, and left the firm in 1996. In the same year, he gifted half the shares he had received to the Infosys Employees Welfare Trust. With bonuses and splits, these shares grew in number, to almost a million. Sastry said he paid Rs1.2 lakh for all his shares; half of them were worth Rs276 crore based on the closing price of Infosys shares on Thursday.
If Infosys today is known for its systems and processes, it has Sastry to thank for them. Since leaving Infosys, he has helped around 300 IT firms in the area of quality management and promoted two companies, including one which was acquired by EDS Corp. The angel investor now invests and mentors companies through venture capital firm Erasmic Venture Fund. He sits on the board of the National Stock Exchange and is working towards improving facilities at 334 government schools across south India, the first step of a long-standing desire to help improve India’s education system. An avid golfer (handicap 19), who uses the greens to network, Sastry says his gift of shares to the employee trust was his way of thanking “Infosys because of which I am, what I am today”.