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Ethics : An Indian Company Role Models

Corporations, audit firms and stock exchanges in America prided themselves for corporate governance, disclosures, transparency, etc…. till Enron followed by string of non-desired disclosures by many other fortune-500 companies. Fortune this year selected Infosys founders Nandan Nilekani and Narayan Murthy as Asian Businessmen of the year, an annual award founded in 1998 and shared by only one from Japan, Singapore and Korea.

The article goes on to add “The financial record alone would make Murthy and Nilekani strong candidates for Asia’s Businessmen of the Year. But the success of the company they’ve built goes well beyond the numbers. In an age of crooked bookkeeping and executive excess, Infosys stands out as a model of corporate governance. It may be the only company in the world to publish financial statements in accordance with the accounting standards of eight countries (Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, and the U.S.). Its annual report discloses compensation details for directors and 452 top executives. Murthy and Nilekani disdain even the most modest of perks, scrupulously reimbursing the company for personal calls each month. In a country where private corporations are often run as family fiefdoms, Murthy and Nilekani have kept their children off the payroll.

In discussion with friends and business colleagues, the question ” what made Infosys succeed ” ? generated a very popular answer, it is a technology success. My response, “No, it is a HR (human resource) success”. I should modify that to “a HR success bulit on a strong value system”. Many may not remember, Infosys struggled selling their IPO a decade ago to Dalal Street. Success always seems overnight!

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