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Nilekani crowned Infosys CEO -- Narayana Murthy is `Chief Mentor'

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IT'S ALL YOURS: The Infosys Chairman, Mr N.R. Narayana Murthy, requests the new Chief Executive Officer, Mr Nandan Nilekani, to take the CEO's chair at a press conference to announce the company's Q3 results at Infosys premises on Thursday.

BANGALORE, Jan. 10

MR N.R. Narayana Murthy, one of the founders of Infosys Technologies Ltd, has decided to step down as the Chief Executive Officer, and pass on the baton to the co-founder and COO, Mr Nandan Nilekani.

Donning the new cap of Chief Mentor, Mr Murthy would continue to be the Chairman of the company, serving full-time on the board of directors.

Drawing a parallel to Microsoft Chairman, Mr Bill Gates' role as Chief Architect following his hands-off approach to the company's daily operations, Mr Murthy said that as a Chief Mentor, he would continue to be ``the last stop in executive decision-making.''

``As long as I am mentally and physically fit, I would continue to add value to the company,'' Mr Murthy said.

"Success of Infosys would depend on how smart we are in providing next generation leadership,'' Mr Murthy said. According to Mr Murthy, perhaps like several ``firsts,'' Infosys would also set a trend in leadership succession in the Indian corporate landscape.

Commenting on the decision to hand over the CEO's role, Mr Murthy said, younger people should be given opportunities to add value to the company. Mr Murthy, at 55, had still five more years left to serve full time as CEO, but chose to hand over the powers to Mr Nilekani who is 10 years his junior so that he could build his own legacy for ``perhaps another 10 years.''

Mr Nilekani would assume the CEO's mantle effective March 31, 2002. He would continue to hold the posts of the President and Managing Director of Infosys.

The co-founder and Deputy Managing Director, Mr Kris Gopalakrishnan, would take over the additional responsibility of COO.

Mr Murthy wishes to concentrate more on building leadership qualities among Infosians, ``by spending more time on various campuses'' and act as a communicator for the company to the external world. ``I would like to share experiences with people on a day-to-day basis and like to be the summary to which Infosys' management team could come and discuss issues to add value to the company,'' he added.

In his new role, Mr Murthy would mentor the Infosys core management team and expects to transform the firm into a next generation corporation providing technology-leveraged business solutions to corporations across the world. He wishes to work with thought leaders globally. In addition, he would interact with various global institutions to bring the benefits of IT to every section of the society.

``I am confident that Nandan and Kris and other members of the board will take the company to greater heights,'' Mr Murthy said.

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