The name Narayana Murthy for today’s generation brings to mind the word ‘entrepreneur’, ‘values’ and ‘Infosys’. Infosys and Narayana Murthy are probably the most spoken about in entrepreneurship, for a variety of reasons. They serve as an inspiration for both budding entrepreneurs as well budding enterprises. They serve as inspiration for not only what can be achieved but also for how it can be achieved.
Over the last few years, we have heard the name Infosys being dragged into visa issues, law suits, slowing down, losing lusture etc. After a lot of changes in the leadership, the baton has been returned to the man who started the enterprise. However his coming back to take the baton and revive the company to its old glory has not been without divergent views, especially his appointment of his son in his core team. While I do not wish to comment on Narayana Murthy’s decision on having his son Rohan Murthy as his executive assistant, it definitely has led to some questions in the minds of many.
Why was no one in the enterprise chosen for the role? What made a person who had insisted then that only either he or his wife would be at Infosys and not both, make the decision that he and his son will be at Infosys now? What has changed between then and now?
Also here are a few things that have come to the front from the discussions going around this topic.
- It is almost becoming impossible to separate lineage and profession
- Be it in business, politics, profession, entertainment etc inheritance is the name of the game
- Family as a social unit has to be considered in professional realm
While all this is valid, there is also another set of questions that begs consideration at this juncture:
Is Rohan Murthy actually the best and quickest choice that Narayana Murthy could have made to take on the herculean task of rejuvenating Infosys of today – when lot of washing of linen, cleansing and tough calls have to be done? A complex task such as the one being undertaken requires not just skill and aptitude but enormous trust, enormous amount of willingness, enormous amount of service orientation and an enormous sense of ownership to the cause. Is it the call of his company and not family that underlines this decision of the great man?
Instead of trying to criticise, pinpoint or question the induction of the next generation – it is important to understand why it happens? What could have prompted such a happening? Is it aiding or harming the larger ecosystem? If it is aiding then how to build such systematic transition? If it is not, then how to build alternate plans for succession?
All of this and many more makes me realise the importance of understanding family as a social institution and its influence on decision making in the professional sphere, a much needed area of greater understanding.