There are moments when a leader feels very lonely. However, that is the time when your aspirations, your determination and your concern about 3.5 lakh jobs, their families and their children give you the strength to say that I am going to face all the challenges that come across. These thoughts were expressed by Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy during an event in Bengaluru to celebrate 40 years of the iconic IT company.
“I am a very religious person though in the company I have never ever participated in a religious function. However, at home I am very religious. I realise that there is a realm of faith which transcends logic. The impact or the situations which are best resolved in the realm of faith give you confidence and hope. I depend on faith and pray,” remarked Murthy.
Murthy recalled an experience at the time when Infosys got listed on NASDAQ in March 1999. He had to give a major investor presentation and a day before that presentation he had an excruciating tooth pain. He was staying at a hotel in Toronto. He went to a nearby store and bought a cutting player. At 2 am in the morning when the pain became unbearable, he took the cutting player and pulled out that tooth.
“I had heard that by such a step I may loose my already weak eyesight and I may loose my hearing also. For five minutes everything went blank and it was dark. But God is great and slowly the sight came back and from 3 AM to 6 AM I practiced the presentation some four or five times. The next day I gave a fantastic presentation,” he recalled.
Murthy also said that his earlier decision not to allow the children of founders or the next generation of promoters to work at Infosys was wrong. “I was depriving this organization of legitimate talent so I take back as to whatever I had said. I think that every individual must have the same opportunity as every other individual if he or she has the capability. The reason I had thought it because I was afraid that some people would bring in undeserving candidates and put them in positions. I wanted the future of this organization to be strong. Today you should not worry about what nationality, whose son you are or whose daughter you are as long as you have the best competence. But you have to go through a proper process of maturing in the organisation before being given suitable positions,” Murthy said.
Nandan Nilekani, the non executive chairman of Infosys, remarked that there was no plan B for his eventual exit but his focus is to create an institution that can outlive its founders.
“There is no plan B. In case you hand over to someone and it doesn’t work out, there is no plan B. I cannot comeback at 75,” said Nilekani. He said that he is yet to find a person who can replace him once he leaves the organisation.