Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy has expressed regret over not being able to reward many of Infosys’ early employees as much as the cofounders.

“There were several extremely smart early adopters of Infosys whom I could not award the kind of stock I gave to my co-founders. Their contribution was more or as much as mine. I only wish I had thought about it very carefully and those extraordinary people also benefited,” he said answering questions following his book launch.

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Murthy also pointed out that during his time at Infosys everyone’s views were considered before taking a decision.
However, he said the problem with democracy is that you don’t always get the best results. “Infosys would have done much better than what it did because we had created an enlightened democracy,” he said when asked about his life’s regrets.

The former Infosys chairman was speaking in an interaction with journalist Rahul Jacob on Saturday along with his wife and Infosys Foundation founder-chairperson Sudha Murty on the occasion of their anniversary and book launch.

The couple had met 50 years ago, when Sudha Murty was the first woman who had joined formerly Telco (now Tata Motors) as an engineer and was working on the company’s shop floor. “When I visited Tata Motors recently, I found that 800 women work there now, which brought tears to my eyes,” she said.

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Narayana Murthy reiterated that he felt bad that he had not allowed his wife Sudha Murty to join Infosys formally, a stance he publicly expressed a month ago. In fact, Sudha Murty, an author who recently won the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian award, said she felt bad for 2-3 years about not joining Infosys but moved on to create Infosys Foundation later to do social work following daughter Akshata Murty’s advice.

Starting the tech giant was an uphill task for the couple, Narayana Murthy recalled, and that while Sudha Murty handled the children at home while he was entirely responsible at Infosys from getting loans, office space to telephone and computer licences, and facing the arduous processes mired in red-tape. “There was a joke in India in those days that technology changes every three months and bureaucratic system takes three years..,” he said.

However, Murthy recognised Karnataka State Industrial & Infrastructure Development Corporation’s and Karnataka State Finance Corporation for quick loan facilitation then.

Murthy also praised former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao and then RBI governor Manmohan Singh, former finance minister P Chidambaram and former deputy chairman of India’s Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia for ushering in liberalisation and enabling the tech revolution.

PM Narendra Modi announced on Friday that Narasimha Rao would be posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna – India’s highest civilian honour.


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