Investors hope Murthy's return will revive Infosys fortunes

Bangalore, June 15 (IANS) Investors of India's second largest IT bellwether Infosys Ltd Saturday hoped the return of iconic co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy as executive chairman would revive the company's fortunes.

"Re-induction of Murthy as chairman augurs well for all the stakeholders as he was instrumental in building Infosys and making it a global software major," a shareholder said at the company's 32nd annual general meeting (AGM) here. The view was echoed by many others too.

At the same time, several investors expressed concern over the bluechip company's declining revenues and profits at a time when its peers were outperforming the industry's growth.

"The company has been losing focus and attrition rate has been rising due to lack of challenging projects. Though our employees are paid well, they are not being utilised properly," a shareholder lamented.

Regretting that the company had lost its competitive edge in attracting top talent, another investor said about 5,000 techies who were given job offer did not join the company.

Sharing the anxiety of shareholders, Murthy admitted that the company had lost focus on winning large outsourcing business, which was its "bread and butter".

"We are at in difficult situation due to commoditisation of outsourcing business and I agree that we need to take some tough decisions," he said.

A few investors however questioned the board's wisdom in recalling the 67-year-old Murthy to run the company again for the next five years when he had accomplished his task and was leading a peaceful retired life.

"Though we are happy to have Murthy back at the helm to steer Infosys in troubled times, it is unfortunate the board could not find any other qualified person within or outside the company for the top executive post," a long-time shareholder lamented.

Allaying fears of investors on more techies leaving the company than joining, chief executive S.D. Shibulal said the attrition rate on annualised basis last fiscal (2012-13) was less than two percent at 16.3 percent from 14.7 percent in previous fiscal (2011-12).

"We have to ensure that the utilisation rate of employees is optimal and not below normal as in the case of some employees. Under-performers cannot be retained for long, especially in these tough times," Shibulal pointed out.

Some investors were also worried that the company was not making strategic acquisition for inorganic growth and to expand its business despite sitting on huge cash and reserves.

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