SUPPORT (183 Members) . GROW (7 Association). PROMOTE (Visitors from 14 Countries). (Check The Site's Statistics)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Why did Infosys CFO Pai move to HR?

T V Mohandas Pai has made the most scrutinised career switch in recent times, albeit within the same company. His decision to step down as CFO of Infosys Technologies, a position he had held with much elan, to take over the HR mantle has raised many an eyebrow.

Theories abound. From the spicy ones about power struggles, board room coups to political ones like positioning him to take on the anti-Infy forces in the light of chairman NR Narayana Murthy’s exit from executive powers shortly. Mr Pai is well aware of the speculation. He has taken it in his stride in the manner of someone who knew this was expected.

There’s been intense speculation on your decision to move to HR?

(Shrugs). I know. But the reality is, I told Mr Murthy and the board that I wanted to do something other than finance, a year ago. I also made it clear to them that I wasn’t looking to move out of Infosys, wasn’t joining competitors. This is my dream company. I want to be here. Having been the finance head for 12 years, I truly believe it was time for me to move on and let a good, accomplished person take over. To move before talent got frustrated and left because of the lack of growth opportunity. So the debate went on, on what I could do and then it was decided that I would take responsibility for HR. Nobody knew about the move. It is best that senior management changes are announced suddenly. My wife and kids knew of course, but I told the rest of the family and my team — other than Bala (his successor) — only on the 13th night (the day before Infy’s earnings announcement on 14 April).

What is your mandate in the new function?

I want to increase the bonding between the people and the organisation. I am not saying it is not there already . But it is a question of size. We are so large today. I want to raise the bar by better communication, by creating structures where managers will be given more responsibility to handle people — delegation of authority and training. The other big objective is to globalise the workforce rapidly. We do have some, but we want more. In the US and Europe, we hire locally for front-end functions, about 50%, in fact. Now, we want to take in more engineers and delivery people. We want to set up HR organisations in the US (Plano) and Europe(London). We have about five to seven expats in Bangalore. We want to raise this number.

We would also like an organisational structure for the future. To take on the challenges for a company which is twice the size. Infosys, you see, is a new company every two years. It was a billion-dollar company two years ago. This fiscal, we will close at around $2.8bn. The two are very different animals.

Are people, especially a very young workforce, able to keep up with the growth?

Infosys is a role-based organisation. The work you do defines the role you exercise. When you are growing at 30/35%, there is generally a mis-match between the individual’s and the organisation’s ability to scale. The organisation generally grows faster than the individual. We want to allow people to grow at the pace they want to. The role-based organisation allows us to do that. The structure is such that there is a de jure recognition of a de facto position.

What is the big ‘challenge’ so to say?

Leadership. Developing the next line. We are giving them exposure by making them directors of our subsidiaries.

But one hardly gets to see them..

That’s because they are in the field, mainly the western markets for us rather than here at the headquarters.Having been the finance head for 12 years, I truly believe Having been the finance head for 12 years, it was time for me to move on and let a good, accomplished person take over.

No comments: