It was June 2014, when Vishal Sikka was appointed as the CEO of Infosys, being the first non-founder CEO of the IT giant. His name Sikka literally means “Coin” in Hindi. He was at the eye of media, as at the time of appointment, Infosys was struggling to keep pace with the blistering growth of Tata Consultancy Services and Cognizant Technology Solutions.
He resigned from his post on Friday (August 2017). And by the time he remained in position, the firm clocked a revenue of ₹62,441 crores in FY 2015-2016. Financial systems vendor Infosys has revealed its revenue for the full year (FY) 2016 of $9.5 billion, an increase of 9.1% in US dollar terms; and 13.3% in constant currency terms compared to previous years.
NR Narayana Murthy said in the announcement press conference, “I welcome our newest Infoscion…I am equally pleased to announce that our colleague for 28 years Pravin Rao has been elevated to COO”.
Vishal earlier served as the CEO of SAP. Vishal’s exit from SAP is rumoured to have been caused by the internal power struggle between the American and German power centres, especially since the current CEO of SAP is American Bill McDermott.
So who exactly is this 50-year old Indian-Americal?
Sikka was born in Shajapur Madhya Pradesh to Punjabi parents, an officer in the Indian Railways and a teacher. His family moved to Vadodara in Gujarat, India when he was six. He did his mid high school in in Kendriya Vidyalaya, Rajkot (Though none of the press reports has covered this fact about his study in Rajkot).
He graduated from Rosary High School. Sikka joined the bachelors in computer engineering course at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, which he discontinued going to Syracuse University in New York where he earned a B.S. in computer science. Sikka completed his PhD in 1996 from Stanford University.
His dissertation was titled Integrating Specialized Procedures into Proof Systems and his thesis advisor was Michael Genesereth. His twitter profile describes him as “Husband, Dad, Son, Brother, Friend. Student, Visitor, Thinker, Innovator. Occasional Surfer on life’s waves…”
Throughout his career, Vishal has perpetually remained in grips with technology whereas additionally gaining managerial expertise, in contrast to several technologists WHO endure to grow and lose active technology expertise.
After his Bachelors in technology from Syracuse University and degree (PhD) in technology from Stanford in 1996, he started his career at Xerox’s Palo Alto research facility (PARC) that was the hub of innovation within the Eighties and 90s. He later ventured out together with his brother and began iBrain, that was noninheritable by PatternRX and his second venture Bodha.com that was acquired by Peregrine Systems.
Sikka joined SAP in 2002 to head up the advanced technology group responsible for strategic innovative projects. Later he was promoted to Senior Vice President of Architecture and Chief Software Architect, responsible for the road map and the direction for the architecture of SAP’s products and infrastructure.
In April 2007, Sikka was named SAP’s first-ever CTO reporting to then CEO Henning Kagermann. At the time, SAP spokesman Frank Hartmann stated that SAP felt it needed a CTO to oversee some broad changes that were under way at the company, including its renewed focus on the mid-market, the introduction of new on-demand products, and the continued roll out of NetWeaver and its SOA strategy.
On 12 June 2014, Infosys Ltd, India’s second-largest IT services exporter, named Sikka as its Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director. Sikka took over from then-CEO S.D. Shibulal, one of Infosys’ founders, on 1 August. He was inducted as a whole-time director of the Board and CEO & MD (Designate) of Infosys on 14 June.
His annual compensation was set at $6 million and stock options worth $5 million. Vishal Sikka resigned from Infosys as MD & CEO on 18 August 2017 will be holding the position of Executive Vice Chairman until a replacement is found.