Infosys Names Vishal Sikka As First External CEO; Murthy To Step Down

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Vishal Sikka
Vishal Sikka, then-Chief Technology Officer for SAP AG, speaks at the Reuters Global Technology Summit in New York on May 21, 2009.

(Reuters) - Infosys Ltd, India's second-largest IT services exporter, named former SAP AG executive board member Vishal Sikka as Chief Executive Officer, the first time the company has not chosen one of its founders for the role.

Infosys also said Executive Chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy and Executive Vice Chairman S. Gopalakrishnan would step down on June 14. Murthy will be designated as chairman emeritus from October 11, the company said in a stock market filing on Thursday.

Sikka will take over from current Chief Executive S.D. Shibulal, one of the seven engineers who founded Infosys in 1981, on August 1, the company said.

Infosys, which has long been a trend-setter in India's $100 billion-plus outsourcing industry, was under pressure to bring in a new chief executive soon to check an exodus of junior staff and reassure investors after a slew of departures at the top.

At least 11 senior executives left the company since June last year when Murthy was brought back from retirement to try to regain some of the market share lost to rivals including Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro.

But his return, with his son Rohan as his executive assistant, triggered uncertainty at the top and dimmed the company's status as the employer of choice for young IT workers, with staff leaving at an unprecedented pace.

Infosys said on Thursday the chairman's office would be dissolved and Rohan would leave the company on Saturday, when the company would hold its annual shareholders meeting in Bangalore.

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