The Tata group and Infosys, both hailed as shining examples of corporate governance in the past, have had dirty linen being aired in public. India hasn’t had a great reputation with regard to corporate governance.
Nevertheless, it has been ranked higher than some other Asian countries such as South Korea, China, the Philippines and Indonesia by Asian Corporate Governance Association. Even that reputation now lies in tatters. The Tata group and Infosys Ltd, both hailed as shining examples of corporate governance in the past, have had dirty linen being aired in public.
Vishal Sikka is an Indian American CEO and MD of Infosys. Prior to joining Infosys, Dr. Vishal Sikka was a member of the Executive Board of SAP AG and the Global Managing Board, leading all SAP products and innovation globally. In his 12 years at SAP, Dr. Sikka led SAP’s portfolio including the breakthrough in-memory platform, SAP HANA, all their applications, cloud and technology solutions. He is credited with accelerating SAP’s development processes, transforming its innovation culture and leading several successful product co-creation initiatives with clients. He is also the creator of the concept of ‘timeless software’, which represents the renewal of products without disruption to customer environments. Sikka left the SAP board in May 2014 for “personal reasons”, and was announced as CEO and MD of Infosys on 12 June 2014.
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 graduated from Rosary High School. Vishal Sikka joined the bachelors in computer engineering course at Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, which he discontinued to go to Syracuse University in New York where he earned a B.S. in computer science. Sikka was accepted to the doctoral program at Stanford University. His dissertation was titled Integrating Specialized Procedures into Proof Systems and his thesis advisor was Michael Genesereth. He graduated with his Ph.D. in 1996.
After a brief stint at Xerox’s research labs, Sikka founded iBrain which competed at the time with Business Objects. iBrain was acquired by PatternRX, Inc. His second startup, Bodha.com, focused on developing technology for non-invasive, service-based integration of enterprise applications and information. Sikka joined Peregrine Systems as their area Vice-President for Platform Technologies, responsible for application development and integration technologies and architecture, following their acquisition of Bodha.com.
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.
In the wake of Léo Apotheker’s resignation from the executive board in 2010, Sikka was named to a newly reconstituted board, along with new co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe.
On 4 May 2014, Dr. Vishal Sikka, Executive Board Member for Products and Innovation, announced his departure from the Executive Board for personal reasons, effective immediately.
On 12 June 2014, Infosys Ltd, India’s second-largest IT services exporter, named Dr Sikka as its Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Sikka took over from S.D. Shibulal, one of the founders, on 1 August. He was inducted as a whole-time director of the Board and CEO & MD (Designate) of Infosys on 14 June. He receives $6 million and stock options worth $5 million as annual compensation.
In 2008, Sikka joined the executive board of the CTO Forum, an influential industry non-profit community. The same year, he articulated his vision of ‘Timeless Software’ – software that does not cause disruption to the user as technology landscapes evolve – and proposed that this be a key pillar of SAP’s future development efforts. He has expressed his admiration for industry visionary Alan Kay and contributed a chapter to Points of View, a tribute on Kay’s 70th birthday.
Sikka has been an influential advocate for HANA, SAP’s new In-memory database technology. He spearheaded the development of HANA since his appointment as CTO with support from Hasso Plattner. Since assuming his seat on the executive board, he has spoken on multiple occasionsabout the potential of HANA as a breakthrough in the enterprise software space.