Earlier today I resigned my position as MD & CEO of Infosys. Here is the mail I sent to our employees.
After a lot of reflection, I have resigned from my
position as your MD & CEO effective today.
A succession process has been initiated, with Pravin serving as interim
MD & CEO, and I will work closely with the Board and management team over
the next few months to ensure a smooth transition. In addition, I have agreed
to serve as Executive Vice Chairman on the Board to further ensure continuity
until the new management is in place.
For days, indeed weeks, this decision has weighed on me. I
have wrestled the pros and cons, the issues and the counterbalancing arguments.
But now, after much thought, and considering the environment of the last few
quarters, I am clear in my decision. It is clear to me that despite our
successes over the last three years, and the powerful seeds of innovation that
we have sown, I cannot carry out my job as CEO and continue to create value,
while also constantly defending against unrelenting, baseless/malicious and
increasingly personal attacks.
In 2014, we started
with a very challenging set of conditions, and in the last three years, we have
decisively turned things around.
Three years ago, I started this journey with a calling,
to help reshape the company around innovation and entrepreneurship, to deliver breakthrough
value for clients, and to help elevate our work, our standing, our selves, on
the basis of a dual strategy, bringing together dualities of renew and new,
automation and innovation, people and software, to show a new path forward in a
time of unprecedented disruption within the industry and beyond. That time, around
and before June 2014, was a difficult time. Our growth rates were low and
attrition was high. There was a sense of apprehension all around and I came
here to help enable a great transformation as our core business faced intense
pricing pressure, and clients looked increasingly to innovative partners to
help shape their digital futures. Now, a bit more than three years later, I am
happy to see the company doing better in every dimension I can think of.
We have grown our revenues, from $2.13B in Q1FY15 to
$2.65B this past Q1. We did so while keeping a strong focus on margins, closing
this past quarter at 24.1% operating margin, beating some competitors for the
first time in many years, and improving against most in our industry.
Perhaps more importantly, our revenue per
employee has grown for six quarters in a row. Our attrition has fallen, from
23.4% in Q1FY15 to 16.9% this past Q1, and high performer attrition is hovering
at or below the single-digit threshold for a while now.
We grew our $100M+ clients from 12 when I
started, to 19, and increased our large deal wins from ~$1.9B in FY15 to ~$3.5B
this past year. We’ve done all this while improving our overall utilization, to
a 10-yr high this past quarter, and an all time high including trainees, while
improving our cash reserves, rewarding employees with a new equity plan, and
returning cash to our stakeholders. And we have done all this while improving
our standing with clients to the highest ever in the 12 years since we’ve done
our client satisfaction survey, and a jump of 22 points in CxO satisfaction.
A few days ago, Nitesh, Radha, and I met a client in our
office in Palo Alto. It is one of the largest companies in the world - and the
CIO was excited and proud about seeing automation come to life in their
Her reaction to seeing many
of our innovation projects, as well as our workspace itself, was thoroughly
rewarding, and a testament to all we have achieved. She requested us to bring
our innovative work and processes to everything we do with her team in a
similar space, and even that we help them establish a similar presence for
their company in the valley!
This is a sentiment
I’ve often heard from clients who’ve visited our 12,000 sqft space here, that
has seen 2200 visits over its ~27 months; clients where we saw much faster than
average revenue growth following their visits. So, as I look back on the three
years as CEO, what brings me the most joy is the new roads that all of you have
traveled, the new frontiers that all of you have enabled.
From embracing the new ideas in education,
teaching ourselves Design Thinking like no one else ever has, learning AI, new
development processes, and more, to applying these learnings via Zero Distance,
a one-of-a-kind program of massive grassroots innovation, powered by education,
by the amazing Zero Bench, and by your creative confidence.
With 16500+ ideas generated, 2200+ of which
have already been implemented, ZD is proof that innovation need not be the
domain of a chosen few in some elite department, but is the prerogative of us
all; proof that the extraordinary within each one of us can indeed be
unleashed. To complement this grassroots innovation, we’ve launched 25+ new
services that contributed 8.3% of our revenue last quarter, up from zero in
And our own new software business
is now at 1.6% of revenue.
platform, Nia, now with 160+ scenarios deployed at more than 70 clients, is
helping drive both automation within the company, and breakthrough new business
Beyond new services
and new software, we’ve ventured into new horizons, from our startup fund’s
investments in promising new businesses, to the work we’ve done in the last 3
years in local hiring around the world, especially in the US, to the exemplary
and inspiring work our US foundation has done in bringing computer science
education and a culture of making, to the masses.
And I am proud of how we have upheld our values, our
culture, our integrity, whilst we have gone about this massive transformation.
I am proud of how our Board has worked,
tirelessly, selflessly, these past quarters, despite intense, unfair, and often
malicious and personal, criticism, in not only upholding our standards of
governance and integrity, but also indeed raising these.
None of our successes would be worthwhile for
a moment, if this was not the case.
I was, and remain,
passionate about the massive transformation opportunity for this company and
industry, but we all need to allow the company to move beyond the noise and
Back in May 2014, when I first met many board colleagues,
I thought of the road ahead as a road for the next 33 years of this iconic
company. For Infosys is more than a company: it is an idea, a dream, a
Back then I
thought, just as I do today, that the time ahead called for a company that
could show the way to a digital future, a future where our humanity, amplified
by automation and software, would unleash our creativity, our imagination, to
construct great worlds of our futures, and would do so powered by education, by
our timeless value of learnability.
an Infosys, whilst staying true to its core, to her values and timeless
principles, would shine the light in an altogether different context, a
different reality. Such an Infosys would be one where an individual’s
entrepreneurship, ability to imagine and create, ability to learn, and to
amplify themselves with software, with AI, would create a greater whole. Rather
than an overarching system enabling the people, the people’s agility and
imagination would create a greater system. Three years later, we can clearly
see that the seeds of this idea have taken root and are growing, into beautiful
new flowers and plants, and I see no reason why these cannot continue, and help
shape our company’s future.
For sure this journey has been a difficult one.
No one, especially me, thought it would be
Transformations are hard to begin
A massive transformation, of such
an iconic institution, with such groundbreaking achievements behind her, would
be even tougher, and the exponential rates of change all around us, further
amplified by geopolitical matters, would add that much more headwind.
But all this was known, and clear, and in
many ways added to the calling that I felt.
For as the legendary architect Daniel Burnham said, “Make no little plans;
they have no magic to stir man’s blood.”
But after much contemplation I have decided to leave
because the distractions, the very public noise around us, have created an
untenable atmosphere. I deeply believe in creating value in an atmosphere of
freedom, trust and empowerment. Life is too short to engage in battles of
opinions in the public, these add no value, take critical time and focus away
from the business, and indeed add more to the noise, to the eardrum buzz, as I
wrote to you a few months ago. The founding principle of the strategy I laid
out for our renewal was personal empowerment, working in an entrepreneurial
I need this for my own work
Steve Jobs, in his famous
commencement speech at my alma mater, said:
“Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone
else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other
people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other opinions drown your own inner
voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition,
they somehow already know what you truly want to become.”
I now need to move
forward, and return to an environment of respect, trust and empowerment, where
I can take on new lofty challenges, as can each of you.
As Steve Jobs said, I must follow my heart and my
intuition, build my buildings, give my givings, and do something else.
Over the next weeks and months, I look
forward to working with the Board and management to create a smooth transition,
and simultaneously staring into the great unknown, and to doing something
great, something purposeful, for the times ahead.
And also to spend some time with my loved
I’ve been away from home far too
often and far too long.
As I completed my three years recently, many people asked
me if I have any regrets.
is more apt today and the answer is a clear NO. Not for a second.
However difficult the noise of the last
several months has been, I wouldn’t trade our time together for anything. I
would not give up the experience of seeing the gleam in your eyes as you described
a new idea, invention, or contribution. You worked on these confidently,
without reward, without arrogance, showing exactly the kind of creative
confidence that David Kelley talked about in Design Thinking – a wonderful
thing to witness.
I am deeply grateful for the immense support and love
I’ve received from all of you, from our worthy clients for whom we do our
life’s work, and by our shareholders across the globe.
I am grateful for your trust, confidence and
friendship, and am thankful to our team of amazing leaders, who will help lead
our company to greatness.
To my first
Infoscion colleague and trusted friend Ranga, who enabled us to achieve the
things we achieved, to the amazing Ravi, a pocket of passion and energy and
execution excellence, to the calm and steadfast Mohit, who introduced me to the
band of brothers and lived it, day after day, to the larger than life Rajesh,
with his great heart and big laugh, to Binod, a veritable bulldozer brother
with his broad shoulders and broader smile, to the one of a kind Ramadas, the
architect and protector of our magnificent campuses with his indomitable spirit
and world-class excellence, to the always smiling Deepak who helped live the
strategy, to Krish and the best HR team in the world, especially the
extraordinary Richard, Nanju, Shruthi and their amazing team for helping to
carry out some of the craziest and most amazing people initiatives, to
Inderpreet, a new voice to the team, a voice of calm, strength, integrity and a
stability that far belies the little time she’s been with us, to Jayesh and our
entire finance team for their dedication, their impeccable meticulous integrity
and world-class excellence, and especially to my partner, friend, and pillar of
strength, Pravin, who carried all the load in the world, with a smile, impeccable integrity and the
most amazing grace, and will now lead you to the next phase of our company's growth.
To Zaiba, Bala sir,
Nagaraju, Hari and many others for making it possible for me to be me and to do
my work, to my Palo Alto family: Sanjay, Abdul, Navin, Ritika, Barbara, Tao,
Vinod, Shabana, April, Sudhir and others who have stood by me and have given up
so much to be a part of this journey and contributed so much to it, and indeed
to thousands of Infoscions who’ve made it all matter.
I am thankful to Sesh and our entire board
for their unfailing support and confidence in me throughout this journey.
Together we have achieved a lot.
Even in the midst of all of the distractions,
even as the tendency was to return to the familiar, we still managed to
persevere and make wonderful progress. We have laid the foundation for the next
30 years of Infosys, and I feel deeply proud to have worked alongside all of
you in sowing the seeds that will return this company to the bellwether it once
As you’ve all often reminded us,
Infosys is no bigger and no smaller than any of us, the people, the
You are the ones that will
take Infosys to the next 30 years and beyond.
As I think about the time ahead, for all of us, I can only see us
powered by a freedom from the known, of renewing ourselves to thrive in the
time ahead. Each one of you has vindicated my deeply held belief that people
are capable of doing more, achieving more, being more, than they ever imagined
possible. So, keep pushing yourself to do better at whatever you are good at,
but also learning to do things you have never done before, indeed, nobody has
ever done before. I know I will be doing the same.
The Board, Pravin, and I will communicate additional
details as we move forward in this transition, and meanwhile, we continue our
work as is. I wish all of you the very best in your journeys ahead.