Bangalore: In a major top-level management streamlining, India's second largest software firm Infosys named veteran banker K V Kamath as the new chairman to succeed founder N R Narayana Murthy on Saturday. Murthy is to retire in August.

The over USD 6-billion Infosys Technologies has also appointed current CEO S Gopalakrishnan as the Executive co-Chairman and promoted COO S D Shibulal as CEO and MD.

Murthy, who turns 65 in August, would become Chairman Emeritus.

These appointments, effective August 21, 2011 were approved at the company's board meeting held here on Saturday.

Kamath, 63, is currently an independent director on the board of Infosys. He is also the non-Executive Chairman of ICICI Bank, the country's largest private lender.

"I am very pleased with (all) these appointments," Murthy said after the board meeting.

"Kamath, Kris and Shibu will make an ideal team. I am grateful to the company for appointing me as Chairman Emeritus and providing me an opportunity to add value to the board...," he said.

Infosys would also be appointing three new directors before the annual general meeting in June.

The major board recast comes at a time when Infosys is facing a competitive environment and tough business conditions.

The names of Kamath, Gopalakrishnan and Shibulal were recommended by the three-member Nominations Committee, chaired by Jeffrey S Lehman.

"These three leaders meld an extraordinary range of talents and experiences with a united commitment to drive the company... We could not be in better hands," Lehman said.

A well-known personality in the corporate circles, Kamath was the vital driving force in the success of ICICI Bank.
One of the co-founders, Kris Gopalakrishnan has been Infosys CEO since June 2007.

Shibulal, another co-founder, is currently the Chief Operating Officer (COO).

"We will ensure that this leadership transition is smooth... We are also making other organisational changes to strengthen our market position and ability to serve our clients better," Shibulal said.

Headquartered in Bangalore, Infosys has 64 offices and 63 development centers across the US, the UK, China, Australia and Japan, among other countries.

The company and its subsidiaries had a workforce of 1,30,820 employees as of March 31, 2011.

Infy to be renamed as Infosys Ltd

In tandem with leadership succession plan and move to transform the company into a next-generation global player in IT arena, Infosys Technologies on Saturday said it will be renamed as Infosys Ltd.

Co-Chairman-designate S Gopalakrishnan said Infosys has a broad range of services all the way from consulting to business process outsourcing and the company's focus is to help clients achieve business results.

"We felt that the brand Infosys is so strong that we would like to rename the company as Infosys Ltd," Gopalakrishnan said, adding "It’s part of our 3.0 vision."

The company in a regulatory filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange said that the "Board of Directors approved the proposal of changing the name of the company from Infosys Technologies to Infosys Ltd".

The company will seek shareholders' approval on the proposal at its Annual General Meeting on June 11, 2011.
The proposed Infosys 3.0 strategy would have three dimensions including strengthening the company's strategic partnership with its clients and evolving its business model, Shibulal said.

Officials said the Board had also decided to raise the retirement age for chairman of the company from 65 years to 70 years but this would not be applicable to the company's founders.

‘Kamath appointment will benefit Infy’

Saying that it was a unique achievement for an individual to chair two large
organisations, ICICI Bank Managing Director and Chief Executive Chanda Kochhar said Infosys would benefit immensely from the foresight of its new Chairman, K V Kamath.

"Kamath has always identified future trends and opportunities ahead of others. He has always looked beyond the immediate boundaries and identified future horizons of growth," Kochhar said in a statement.

"It is a unique achievement for a professional to be appointed as Chairman of two large organisations with a global presence, like ICICI Bank and Infosys," Kochhar said.

She counted an inclination to empower young leaders, and deep understanding of technology as other qualities of Kamath which would benefit Infy.

"Kamath is recognised as the person who brought the technology revolution to Indian banking," she said in the statement.


READ MORE: Who is K V Kamath?