The Indian business media is largely rallying behind the recent announcement that SAP’s Vishal Sikka will return home to India as the CEO of Infosys (NYSE: INFY) with the following articles being well worth reading by shareholders:
- He can make Infosys cloud-ready.
- He is a global Indian.
- He will quell unrest in the ranks.
- He brings Europe.
- He loves Innovation.
The Economic Times interviews Partha Iyengar of Gartner India about the latest developments at Infosys.
“Infosys has suffered from employee attrition for a long time. In this scenario, having a firm leader at the helm is important to bring back confidence and get the company back on to the growth path. It is good news from that perspective. But a lot needs to be done to get the Infosys growth in line with the industry trend. That may take some time.”
“It is good that they have finally brought in someone who is not internally associated with the organisation. The leadership at Infosys needed fresh thinking. All the recent senior exits were very worrying for us.”
Harit Shah, analyst with Nirmal Bang:
“The point is that he has very strong relationships with most of the Fortune 1000 so they will hope to leverage that to get more business.”
Sundar Viswanathan, management consultant at Zinnov Management Consulting:
“ADM is something we have been doing and people other than Vishal Sikka can do that. But the other two portions for Infosys — the consulting and package implementation part and the products and platforms part — that can get an impetus with this kind of leader. He is a CEO for the future not just for managing or putting things to rest.”
John Appleby, global head of SAP Hana at Bluefin Solutions, a consultancy:
“One of the biggest challenges facing Infosys is retaining talent. Vishal’s appointment should help the company not just attract but even attract the best minds for the enormous respect Vishal commands among developers.”
A very good compilation of quotes from the following experts:
- Parth Iyengar – Country Manager – Gartner
- Tom Reuner – Analyst – Ovum
- Sundar Viswanathan – Management Consultant – Zinnov Management Consulting
- Atul Nishar – Chairman – Hexaware Technologies
- John Appleby – Global Head of SAP Hana-Bluefin Solutions
- Abhishek Dangra, Director of Corporate Ratings, Standard & Poor’s
- Aniruddha Bhosale – Research Analyst – Deutsche Bank
- Harit Shah – Research Analyst – Nirmal Bang
- Viju K George – Research Analyst – JPMorgan
- After completing his education, Sikka worked at Xerox’s research Palo Alto Labs, but later ventured out on his own. He started his first company, iBrain, along with his brother, which was later acquired by PatternRX, Inc. His second startup Bodha.com was acquired by Peregrine Systems, where Sikka worked as Vice President for Platform Technologies, post the acquisition.
- Sikka joined SAP in 2002 to head the advanced technology group responsible for strategic innovative projects.
- A car accident in Costa Rica in 2008, where Sikka was vacationing with family, was a turning point in Sikka’s life as well as that of SAP.
- Sikka’s exit from SAP has shaken the company. A Business Insider article said that Sikka is a victim of power struggle in the company.
- Sikka’s exit process gathered speed after a German magazine DAS E-3 published a critical article about SAP’s internal politics, the German-American power struggle and about how Sikka was directly in competition with the German head and a prospective future CEO.
Here are the key challenges Sikka faces according to NDT (they go into detail about all of them):
- Employee morale.
- Filling the leadership vaccum.
- Sluggish growth.
- Infosys may take longer-than-expected to rebound.
- Dr Sikka’s background may be a handicap.
The Times of India also has a short slideshow of the “7 things to know” about Sikka or the appointment.
(For the record, I have been an Infosys shareholder for several years now and have no plans to buy or sell any shares)
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