Infy: Ethics Or Pot Of Gold


N.R.Narayana Murthy. (Image:Google)

was about the crisis in Infosys which led to the CEO and MD of the company, Vishal Sikka, resigning, blaming the founder, N.R. Narayan Murthy for ‘personal attacks’.


Infosys is the most famous IT company of India. Infy and the first among  its founders, N. R. Narayana Murthy can be credited with pioneering India’s entry into outsourcing  and IT industry and determining its corporate culture. Murhty himself is known to be  a highly ethical visionary.

When I posted on the death of Om Puri, Prof. Yash Pal  and Dr. U.R. Rao, I took care not to write what is available in published obits and on Google, confining myself to personal contacts and what is known to me first-hand.  I hope this is NOT the obit of Infy, but still I will abide by that norm.

Vishal Sikka
Vishal Sikka (Image: Google)

It was almost two decades ago, when NRN was still the chairman of Infosys. A new batch of engineering recruits had joined and some of them were chatting at a coffee machine in the corridors of one of the many buildings in the beautiful campus. They looked  (and felt) like college (some even like senior school) students.

They saw NRN himself  walking  down the corridor  with some foreign guests. By now 

they were familiar with his standing in queue in the canteen along with them at lunch time and not behaving like a big boss. So they continued to chat even as he passed by.
After a few minutes Narayan Murthy, looking at the sky visible from the corridor after a brief drizzle that just stopped,  beckoned  them. Were they in for  a scolding for chatting during office time? They walked up to NRN and his group.

Pointing to the sky NRN told them, “See. What a beautiful rainblow!”

Most top bosses in  industry saw only “the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow” as in the English proverb and not at the beauty of the rainbow.  That is the difference between N.R. Narayana Murthy and othter entreprenuers.

The Infosys Board of Directors now has none of the founders and is a purely business group. The Board found fault with NRN for the crisis caused by his questioning the vulgarly huge ‘terminal benefits’ given to a top executive who quit or the big  pay hikes to the CEO and for asking that a probe report be made public which, the board says, was ‘not done’ by any company. They justified the huge payments as it was the global trend.

That is the difference in the viewpoints of a business group and a man who refused to move out of the upper middleclass locality he lived in and rejected special security for him as it would inconvenience the neighbours.

Someone quipped on the social media that “Ratan Tata’s mistry (mechanic) was wrong and Murhty’s Sikka (which also means coin) was counterfiet (khota).” Tata came back to his empire to oust his successor Cyrus Mistry, when he was departing from its right path.

After a particular level money has no value, NRN always held. For a politician who saw NRN as a land-grabber simply because he did not belong to his caste or the businessmen who worship profit as  God  it is all that matters.

For them the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow matters more than  ethics  and culture. Who has time to appreciate rainbows?


Published by

B. Someswar Rao

60 years of journalism, from the age of 16, and two books later, life has so much more to offer, there is no looking back. Not yet. Unstoppable after 70 is a simple expression of my thoughts, my triumphs, my failures and everything that makes this journey incredible. My books: - A TOWN CALLED PENURY- the changing culture of Indian journalism - JOURNALISM - Ethics, Codes, Laws Working on: - 'THE OUTHOUSE ON THE FIRST FLOOR - Coming of (Old)Age in India'

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