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Infosys on Friday named R Seshasayee, vice chairman replacing KV Kamath

BENGALURU: Infosys on Friday named R Seshasayee, vice chairman at truck and bus maker Ashok Leyland, as its non-executive chairman, replacing KV Kamath, who stepped down to take over as president of the newly created BRICS bank.

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Seshasayee’s appointment is another important leadership transition for India’s second largest software exporter that is currently undertaking the biggest organisational and strategic overhaul in its 34-year-old history under its first non-founder CEO Vishal Sikka.

“Sesh has proved his leadership ability over and over again as a board member for more than four years. I feel that I have learned from him on countless occasions, and we are deeply fortunate that he is ready and willing to serve as chair,” Jeffrey Sean Lehman, vice chancellor of New York University Shanghai and Infosys board veteran, said in an email response.

Seshasayee’s appointment is effective immediately, Infosys said in a statement. Kamath takes over as president of the $100-billion BRICS New Development Bank from July.

ET was first to report on May 11 that Kamath would step down from his position of chairman of Infosys and that the firm has initiated a hunt for its next chairman with Seshasayee among internal board candidates being considered as his replacement. ET then first reported on May 18 that the Infosys board had almost zeroed in on Seshasayee as Kamath’s replacement and would announce it before the AGM on June 22.

Seshasayee has been an independent director on the board since January 2011 and is chairperson of its audit committee. “Infosys is an iconic company and I am thankful to Mr Kamath and the board for entrusting me with this privilege. In order to devote requisite time and attention to this responsibility, it is my intention to substantially disengage from my other current responsibilities in due course,” Seshasayee said.

He is the non-executive vicechairman of Ashok Leyland and IndusInd Bank chairman.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, a board member at Infosys and founder and chairman of Biocon, said Seshasayee is thorough, insightful and pays a lot of attention to details. “He has played a very important role at the Infy board and has served a long term to fully understand the present day and future challenges that Infy is addressing. I believe he will be able to seamlessly transition chairmanship, having worked so closely with Mr Kamath all these years,” she said in an email to ET.

Welcoming Seshasayee’s appointment, CEO Sikka said, “We have a lot to do and I am excited to work with him to accelerate our plans for the future.”

Seshasayee is currently a member of Infosys’ nominations committee that also includes Lehman, Mazumdar-Shaw and Carol M Browner.

Kamath has widely been credited for transforming ICICI Bank. “He (Kamath) is a great CEO. When I was on the board of ICICI, he made a presentation on his strategy to transform a development financing institution to a universal bank in five years and achieved it on time. This is a rare feat in India,” Murthy had said in an e-mail to ET.


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