Infosys founder Narayana Murthy today accepted he made a mistake by keeping Sudha Murty out of the company. He said that she was more qualified than him, and the six other founders of the tech company.
Explaining his rationale behind asking his wife to not join the company, the 77-year-old said that he was “wrongly idealistic” during those days and believed that one shouldn’t get family into your company.
“I felt that good corporate governance means not getting family into it. Because those days children used to come in and run the company… there used to be a violation of a lot of laws,” Narayana Murthy told CNBC-TV18 during an interview.
“But a few years ago, I had a discussion with a couple of professors of philosophy and they said that I was wrong. They said that as other as the other person has merit, whether it’s your wife, your son, or your daughter. As long as they have merit and go through the normal procedure. You have no right to prevent that person from being part of the company because then you are taking away some of your rights,” he added.
Accepting his folly, the billionaire said that he was influenced by the “environment of those days”.
Sudha Murty, a philanthropist and author now, was among the first investors of Infosys when she gave her husband Rs 10,000 to start the company.
“I never thought that Rs 10,000 would become billions of dollars later. Maybe I am the best investor in India at least. Maybe in the world, I don’t know,” Ms Murty told NDTV while reminiscing about the beginnings of Infosys.
On her husband’s request that she shouldn’t join the company, Sudha Murty says that while his reasoning made sense to her brain, her heart did not agree.
“I decided to step back as it was good for my family. My brain agreed, but my heart did not. I wanted to work,” she told CNBC-TV18.
“(Narayana) Murthy was hell-bent that I shouldn’t join. He said if you will join, I will drop. Knowing Murthy, once he takes a decision, right or wrong, he will stick to it,” she added.
Narayana Murthy, during the interview, also doubled down on his appeal to youngsters in India to work 70 hours a week. His remarks had snowballed into a huge row last year as working professionals as well as other CEOs criticised him for promoting a lack of work-life balance.
Today, he said that farmers, factory workers, and several other Indians work “extremely hard” and the country’s educated population owes it to the less fortunate.
“Those of us who received education at a huge discount, thanks to the subsidy from the government for all this education, owe it to the less fortunate citizens of India to work extremely hard,” he said.
Mr Murthy said although he received widespread backlash on social media over his advice, a lot of “good people” and “NRIs” agreed with his statement.