Even as the markets tumbled, reeling under the shock of the sudden exit of Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka, the IT major's Board of directors, it is reliably learnt, has zeroed in on two candidates for the top job. Interestingly, both hail from Tamil Nadu.
O Panneerselvam who hails from Periyakulam is the frontrunner for the job, with the Infosys board extremely impressed with his software programme titled dharmayudham.com. OPS, as Panneerselvam is popularly referred to in the geek world, claims in his CV that he tested this software in February and got rave reviews for it in the media. Though he could not get more than a dozen clients to test his software, Infosys believes his product has potential and the masses will accept it if OPS markets it well.
What gives Panneerselvam's candidature wings is recommendation letters from users in the New Delhi market. One of his regular clients is an influential resident of Lok Kalyan Marg, Narendra Modi, who makes it a point to meet him almost every other week. The grapevine suggests that OPS gives suggestions on how to improve Modi's website and app, narendramodi.in, and updates him about the latest developments in the IT world.
His detractors, however, say that OPS is putting pressure on Modi to use his good offices and influence to secure him a job of his choice in Chennai. OPS was earlier working as a senior programming officer and finance division head at Fort St George in Chennai and was in charge of the entire state of Tamil Nadu. But he quit following differences with his new boss who took over in February.
It seems apparent that OPS is keeping Infosys as a back-up plan in view of reports that Modi is quietly encouraging a new kid on the block called Rajinikanth, whose hi-tech product 2.0 will be unveiled next year.
The Infosys board, however is in a fix over Panneerselvam's reluctance to move to Bengaluru where the company headquarters is located. OPS has expressed a desire to work out of Marina beach in Chennai, arguing that meditating near the waters while working allows his inner voice to come up with more innovative programming codes. He has in fact, also mentioned that he would prefer to work on the night shift. Some members of the board have reportedly agreed to it, saying they can mention the Marina as an offshore site.
The other person who has thrown his hat into the ring is TTV Dhinakaran, with who OPS is not on good terms. On learning about Dhinakaran's candidature, Panneerselvam has already lodged a complaint with Infosys revealing that this hat was given to Dhinakaran temporarily in April and does not belong to him.
Dhinakaran has showcased his latest software innovation called sleepercell.com, which he announced in Bengaluru on Friday. Though he refused to reveal details about it citing confidentiality clause, Dhinakaran has credited his aunt VK Sasikala with the idea, saying this programming code will allow any user to destroy competition by remaining dormant and attacking when the rival is complacent. The Infosys board is apparently impressed with the robustness of the programme. Dhinakaran has indicated that political parties could gain from his software and plans to use it in Chennai very soon.
However, what goes against Dhinakaran is that he went to prison for 40 days earlier this year when he allegedly tried to bribe officials to get a license for his earlier software code, RKNagar.com. This taint, the Infosysians believe, will go against the ethics of corporate governance they so strongly believe in.
The Infosys board is likely to go into a huddle to decide between the two candidates. OPS has reportedly told the board that it needs to decide fast because he is very keen to have a party in Chennai very soon.
“Panneerselvam is a party animal, you see. Last six months, he has been craving to have a big party. Instead he has been spending time in a small camp with just ten-odd people and moving from Chennai to Delhi to Shirdi to Guruvayoor to Theni,'' said V Maitreyan, Panneerselvam's doctor friend.