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Infosys to bid for UID projects; nobody to succeed Nilekani

Source: PTI
June 26, 2009 19:01 IST
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Infosys Technologies on Friday said it would bid for multi-crore rupee projects under the Unique Identification Database Authority, which would be headed by the company's former co-chairman Nandan Nilekani, as it sees no conflict of interest.

Ending speculations on who would succeed Nilekani, Infosys chief executive officer Kris Gopalakrishnan also told the mediapersons that nobody is slated at present to fill Nilekani's shoes and the former co-chairman's responsibilities would get distributed among the brass.

A day after the Centre announced Nilekani's appointment in the rank of a Cabinet minister, Gopalakrishnan said the outgoing co-chairman had been handling some customers and was involved in brand initiatives and heading strategic teams.

"So, it (Nilekani's responsibilities) will get distributed to other leaders in the company. Nobody is at present slated to be the co-chairman. So, it will get distributed to all of us," Gopalakrishnan said.

The Nasdaq-listed company also said that Infosys had handled transitions in the past seamlessly and was confident of doing so this time also given its depth of leadership.

Gopalakrishnan said Infosys would bid for projects under UIDAI like any other e-governance projects, but saw no conflict of interest though the authority would be headed by a former company top executive.

"There is no discussion on this (Nilekani's replacement) as of now," an Infosys spokesperson said today. According to industry sources, Mohandas Pai, HR head and a board member, is likely to succeed Nilekani. However, when asked, the company declined to comment on this.

"There are two things -- one is as a member of the board, he (Nilekani) has resigned and the board has to decide whether he needs to be replaced or not. Right now there are no discussions on that," Gopalakrishnan said.

"On his executive role, other people will take over . . . we have exceptional leadership. Infosys will manage this without loosing any momentum as we have done in the past," he added.

Analysts also feel that leadership transition would not be a problem for Infosys. From Narayana Murthy to Nilekani to Kris now, it has always been a glitchless affair, they pointed out.

Nilekani on Thursday resigned as Infosys co-chairman and a board member. The board has accepted his resignation.

Earlier, Nandan Nilekani, who has been appointed as head of the Unique Identification Authority, said he would ensure there is no conflict between his present role and the interests of Infosys Technologies, of which was co-founder.

"There is not going to be any conflict of interest because I have not taken up this job to create conflict of interest. I will make sure that we have the highest standards of integrity, openness, transparency and process in all procurement. A slightest issue (and) I will recuse myself from the decision," he said.

The new agency for providing biometric-ID to over one billion citizens will involve multi-crore procurement from IT vendors, which may include Infosys Technologies, TCS, Wipro, and Mahindra Satyam as well.

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