Leadership Transition at Infosys|Human Resource|Organization Behavior|Case Study|Case Studies

Leadership Transition at Infosys

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : HROB156 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 500;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 500 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Leadership Transition/ Leadership Development/ Succession Planning
Case Length : 17 Pages
Period : 2000-2013
Organization : Infosys Ltd.
Pub Date : 2013
Teaching Note : Not Available
Countries : India
Industry : Information Technology and Consulting


The case discusses the leadership transition at Bangalore-based information technology and consulting company, Infosys Ltd. (Infosys). Infosys since its founding in 1981 by Narayana Murthy (Murthy) and six others, was known for leadership development and succession planning. In 2001, the company set up the Infosys Leadership Institute (ILI) to nurture and groom future leaders. Since most of the company’s founders were approaching retirement, it developed a strong leadership pipeline and defined clear successors to lead the company. Ever since Murthy announced his plans to retire by August 2011, the company had been focusing on bringing in a successor to him.

Human Resource and Organization Behavior | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Human Resource and Organization Behavior, Case Studies

In May 2011, Infosys chose banking veteran, KV Kamath (Kamath), former CEO of ICICI Bank, the largest private sector bank in India, as the non-executive chairman of Infosys. Soon after Kamath took over his position in August 2011, Kris Gopalakrishnan (Gopalakrishnan) and SD Shibulal (Shibulal) were made the executive co-chairman and CEO and managing director respectively.

Having been led by charismatic founding members as leaders for decades the company faced the challenge of smoothly transitioning to a professional leadership independent of the founders, at the same time maintaining the values the company stood for.

The company’s strategy of bringing in an outsider met with mixed reactions. Some analysts felt that bringing in an outsider like Kamath who had proven his skills at ICICI Bank would work in favor of Infosys. Some investors, on the other hand, felt that had the company brought in outsiders for the positions of executive co-chairman and CEO and MD, the stock markets would have reacted positively. Some industry experts felt that the internal restructuring at the company had come at a time when the company was underperforming compared to its peers. Infosys, however, maintained that the company had carried out seamless transitions in the past and would continue doing so considering its depth of leadership.


Analyze the leadership transition at Infosys.
Understand the issues and challenges while managing leadership transition at the company.


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Early History of Infosys 2
Focus on Leadership Development 4
Leadership Transition 5
The Response 7
Challenges 9
Looking Ahead 10
Exhibits 12

Key Words:

Infosys, Leadership, Talent management, Leadership transition, Succession planning, Leadership development, Infosys Leadership Institute (ILI), Leadership pipeline, Internal restructuring, Leadership crisis, Leadership succession strategy, Charismatic leaders, Narayana Murthy, KV Kamath, Global Delivery Model, leadership transition, governance

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