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Focused on politics, Nilekani unlikely to return to Infosys

Nilekani lost to BJP heavyweight Ananth Kumar from Bangalore South in LS polls

BS Reporters  |  Bangalore 

Nandan Nilekani
Nandan Nilekani

While few Infosys employees may see Nandan Nilekani as a potential future CEO who can help the company tide over the tough times, the technocrat-turned-politician is learnt to have 'absolutely' no such plans.

Nilekani who lost out to BJP heavyweight Ananth Kumar in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections contesting in a Congress ticket, has decided to stay focused on building his political career, sources close to him said.

ALSO READ: Is there merit in bringing back Nandan Nilekani to head Infosys?

"He is in for a long-haul", sources in the direct knowledge of his future plans, said. They also said that Nilekani is now in the process of analyising his loss in the elections and preparing the ground for the future.

After his loss, several Infosys employees had posted comments on the company's intranet portal, Sparsh, batting for his return to the Bangalore-based company to help it get back to growth.

"There has been a lot of discussion about Nandan Nilekani on Sparsh in the recent days because he was contesting election and some Infosys employees were supporting him. But the discussion was limited to and elections. It was probably just a brief mention that someone might have made about brining Nandan back to Infosys, and for all you know some employee was being sarcastic or humorous," said an employee of Infosys who has access to the company's intranet.

An Infosys spokesperson declined to offer any comment on the subject while Nilekani could not be reached for his comments.

Soon after the Lok Sabha elections results were out, Nilekani had said that even though he could not get an opportunity to serve people as an MP, his works for Bangalore would continue in coming months and years.

"Thousands of you reached out to us with your 'ideas for Bengaluru'," Nilekani had said in a statement. "My agenda in the coming years include the priorities that you shared with me."

Nilekani, one of the seven co-founders of Infosys, quit the Bangalore-based company in 2009 to head the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as its chairman, in the rank of a Cabinet Minister. In his last role at Infosys, he was serving as the executive co-chairman of the company. He continues to be a part of the company's promoters group and along with his family members, holds 3.34 per cent in Infosys.

In fact, Nilekani is considered as one of the most successful CEOs of Infosys. During the period (March 2002-April 2007) when he was the CEO & MD, Infosys clocked an average revenue growth rate of 40 per cent.

Industry analysts, however, believe that even if he comes back to the company now, he may not be able that kind of growth in the changed business environment.

"Nilekani returning to Infosys is most unlikely because too much water has flown under bridge since he left. Infosys is a changed company now and Nilekani is a changed man," said a senior IT analyst at a Mumbai-based brokerage house.

"Looking at Nilekani as an option just because he was once there and during that time the company did well is a very juvenile thought. One must not forget the context of Infosys today-the challenges it is faced with and the evolved market environment," he added.

Infosys is presently in search for the successor to the current CEO & MD S D Shibulal, who has expressed his desire to retire by January 2015. The company is evaluating few internal as well as external candidates with the help of executive search firms, Development Dimensions International (DDI) and Egon Zehnder.

First Published: Wed, May 21 2014. 19:18 IST