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Nilekani as Businessman of the Year: Forbes Asia

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Dec 1: IT giant Infosys Technologies which completed 25 years of operation this year has added another feather in its cap with its CEO Nandan Nilekani being honoured as the 'Businessman of the Year 2006' by Forbes Asia magazine.

The 51-year old co-founder of the Bangalore-based Infosys has been awarded with the title for his track record in keeping his
company ahead of its peers in the global outsourcing phenomenon. The most recent quarter was its best on record, prompting analysts to raise their earnings estimates for the year, Forbes said. Infosys revenue reached 746 million dollars for the three months ended September 2006, up 13 per cent from the previous quarter and up 42 per cent from the same period a year ago.

The net income of the IT giant reached 199 million dollars for the quarter, up 14 per cent from the previous three months and up 44 per cent from the year-ago period. ''Mr Nilekani is an outstanding example of what the Asian entrepreneurial spirit can achieve. More remarkable is his leadership at Infosys, which has been influential in reshaping and levelling the global business landscape,'' Mr Tim Ferguson, Editor of Forbes Asia said.

Mr Nilekani has been chief executive since 2002 but took charge of Infosys after chief mentor Narayan Murthy retired in August this year. ''His is a work in progress. Mr Nilekani is spending 140 million dollars on training this year and has built a 300-million-dollar center in Mysore to mould new hires into 'Infoscions','' the magazine said.

After hiring more people in a single year than most companies have on the entire payroll, Mr Nilekani says, ''We have to deploy
them and train them and do it in a way to make sure quality is not compromised in any way. While we are growing, we also want
to morph ourselves.'' Every time Infosys spreads its wings, it knocks some established company or process aside. ''We have created a new, destructive business model,'' the CEO said. ''Business is being taken away from legacy players and given to us because we are better.'' Bigger and bigger clients of the sort that used to rely on old-line companies like America's IBM, EDS and Accenture are increasingly going with Infosys. For instance, ABN-AMRO recently chose the company for a five-year global outsourcing contract worth 250 million dollars, the magazine added.

At the end of September, Infosys had 34 clients paying more than 50 million dollars a year, up from 14 a year before. According to the magazine, Infosys' two big domestic competitors --Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro Technologies -- have also done
well as the industry expanded dramatically, but in the past year Infosys has been outdistancing them by growing faster.
Indeed, Infosys is setting its sights on competitors outside India -- the big multinational IT consulting and outsourcing firms
that have been rushing to move jobs to India to lower their costs. Whether Mr Nilekani can pull off his ambitious goals of growing
and transforming an already wildly successful company rests on the shoulders of the 66,150 'Infoscions' whose average age is 26 years as 70 per cent of Infosys' new employees are hired upon graduation from college, Forbes added.

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