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K V Kamath frontrunner to replace Narayana Murthy at Infosys
Friday, 19th November 2010
November 20 is Murthy's last day at Infosys. N.R. Narayana Murthy’s successor will have to be a bold risk-taker, open to radically new ideas. And some voices on the board think K.V. Kamath is the man for the job

Soon after Banga left though, Lehman informally told Murthy the board would much rather back K.V. Kamath, non-executive chairman at ICICI Bank and an independent director on Infosys’ board. Kamath’s formidable reputation precedes him. Credited with building the largest private sector bank in the country, he’s got a lot going for him.

The younger leaders on the executive council (EC) at the company like him because they see him as the guy who asks all the tough questions at board meetings. To his credit though, he hasn’t shaken things up too much, perhaps in deference to Murthy’s presence. That said, fact remains, his tough guy image has spooked the founders a bit.

He’s popular with the second line of leaders at the company as well. They appreciate his incredible ability to groom professional CEOs, a breed almost missing at Infosys now because all along it has had one of the original promoters at the helm. Add to all of these the fact that Kamath is a Kannadiga — which can be handy when managing tricky political winds in Bangalore — and it’s pretty obvious why the board is rooting for him.

But Kamath isn’t the kind of man given to lobbying for a job and is said to have remained quiet through all the noise around him. Sources close to him say he wouldn’t mind taking on the challenge at Infosys. His legacy at ICICI bank is at the crossroads. Chanda Kochhar, his successor as chief executive, is now driving her own agenda. Besides, many of Kamath’s carefully nurtured CEOs have chosen to move out of the bank. It is a very different place now from what he had built.

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Publication : Forbes India


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