Narayana Murthy quits CEO forum

Narayan Murthy

Cut up with the Commerce and Industry Ministry for not heeding his suggestions on the composition of the Indo-French CEOs' Forum, Infosys Chairman Emeritus N R Narayana Murthy has quit as co-chair. Murthy was named to the post in 2008.

According to sources, Murthy wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in end 2011 expressing his disappointment over the ministry's refusal to co-opt his choice of individuals as members of the forum. He informed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of his decision to resign. While the PMO advised the Commerce and Industry Ministry to reconsider Murthy's suggestions, the latter stuck to its position.

Triveni Engineering CMD Dhruv Sawhney has now taken over as co-chair from the Indian side.

In his recommendations sent in 2011, Murthy had asked for inclusion of Jamshyd Godrej, Rakesh Mittal and IIT Bombay Director Devang Khakhar as members of the forum from the Indian side. Sources close to Murthy said he wanted them for specific expertise in areas where India-France business cooperation could be enhanced, including agriculture, chemicals.

However, the ministry refused. "We told him (Murthy) that we can invite these individuals to the forum's meetings whenever there are discussions on these specific areas. But we did not want them as members," a source in the ministry said.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma spoke to the Infosys co-founder to sort out the issue and subsequently, the ministry appointed its own choice of industrialists. It was this decision that prompted Murthy to finally pull out.

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