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R Seshasayee to focus more on role as chairman Infosys

From being a hands-on top boss at one of India’s most iconic automobile companies, R Seshasayee is now getting ready to immerse himself just as ‘deeply in the technology space’ with his deeper role at the helm of Infosys. Seshasayee, who has just stepped down from his position as the non-executive vice chairman of Ashok Leyland, the Hinduja group flagship company, will however continue his ‘connection’ with the Hinduja group, through IndusInd Bank.
“My association with the Hinduja group continues,” he told TOI. “I continue to be the chairman of IndusInd Bank and will remain vice chairman of the Hinduja Group which is a non-executive position.” The reason for stepping down from Ashok Leyland, where he has had a 40-year stint, is to focus more attention on his current responsibilities as the chairman of Infosys.
“I had been in Ashok Leyland long enough and I felt that I should be looking at other things,” he said. “I had been wanting step down for quite some time — 40 years is already too long — and wanted to do some different things. As chairman of Infosys, I am already deeply into the technology space and there’s quite a bit of engagement with that sector. So I needed to make space for those sort of things.”
Seshasayee has been on the board of Infosys from January 2011. He was the chairman of the audit committee. In June 2015, he was appointed non executive chairman of the board after KV Kamath stepped down as chairman of the board and independent director following his appointment as president of BRICS bank. When he took over as chairman, Seshasayee had indicated he would cut down his commitments outside of Infosys to focus more on the company.
“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,” he had said at that time. With Infosys MD & CEO Vishal Sikka operating largely out of US, Seshasayee’s role in Infosys may become more hands on. In its vision 2020, Infosys is aiming to hit $20 billion revenue which would require a revenue growth of 19% CAGR. An experienced hand like Seshasayee can help implement those aggressive targets for Infosys.
Sources say Seshasayee’s role in Infosys is as critical as his role at the helm of commercial vehicles major Ashok Leyland used to be. A chartered accountant by training, Seshasayee has always been an iconic figure in the automobile industry and he now takes a similar passion for engineering and eye for numbers to the technology sector.
Seshasayee joined the commercial vehicle company in 1976 after 5 years with Hindustan Lever, now Hindustan Unilever. He became executive director finance in 1983 and deputy MD in 1993. He was appointed MD in 1998 and executive vice chairman in 2011. During his tenure as the MD of Ashok Leyland (1998-99 to 2010-11), Ashok Leyland’s turnover increased five times, net profit 30 times, and market cap 14 times.

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