NR Narayana Murthy, chairman, Infosys on Friday defended his son Rohan Murty's entry into the company he co-founded in the 1980s, saying there had been no violation of corporate governance rules or values he always espoused in inducting him.
Murthy was the first speaker, after Editor-in-Chief Aroon Purie, at Business Today's MindRush, a two day ideas conclave being held at The Oberoi, Gurgaon, which started on Friday (December 13).
In earlier years, Murthy had time and again reiterated that none of the founders' children would work at Infosys. Yet Rohan joined Infosys in June this year as Murthy's executive assistant.
Why did Murthy bend the rules?
In a conversation with India Today Chairman and Editor-In-Chief Aroon Purie at the end of his speech, Murthy made two points to emphasise that there had been no violation of ethics or principles on his part. For one, he pointed out, Rohan Murty had academic meritocracy.
"My son has done a high quality PhD in computer science. On the issue of meritocracy, there is nobody as qualified as Rohan in the company," he said.
Rohan Murty was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard and his research interests included networked systems, embedded computing, and distributed computing systems. He was previously a Computing Innovations Fellow at MIT.
"Corporate governance is all about deriving benefits. Rohan will take a salary of one rupee. I do not think that there was any issue of violation of corporate governance," Murthy said.
Narayana Murthy, whose role in building not only Infosys but also the Indian IT industry, is considerable added that his return to Infosys, bringing his son along with him was a special case. When he retired in 2011, he had never imagined he would have to come back to rescue the company. Over the last two years, Infosys went on a downward spiral, growing far slower than its peers. In the IT industry's pecking order, Infosys lost its No. 2 crown to Cognizant.
"My coming back was at the request of the board. After the board of directors and the executive management spent more than a month talking to me, I had a discussion with my wife and children. They said Infosys was my middle child. If one child needs attention, would you not go?" Murthy added.
Perhaps Murthy needed to spend more time with his children after having given them relatively little attention for many years because he was building the company. Rohan's entry into Infosys now allows Murthy to spend time with him without violating any rules.