NR Narayana Murthy says his job application was once rejected by Wipro’s Azim Premji  

Infosys founder Narayana Murthy says his job application was once rejected by Wipro. Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia Commons/ShareAlike 2.0 Generic/ShareAlike 4.0 International

Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy was rejected when he sought employment at Wipro, he revealed in a recent CNBC-TV18 interview.

This turned out to be a pivotal moment as it led to the birth of Infosys, a major competitor in the IT industry.

Azim Premji, the former chairman of Wipro, later admitted to Murthy that not hiring him was a regrettable mistake.

“Azim once told me that one of the biggest mistakes he committed was not to hire me,” the 77-year-old said, adding that if he had been hired by Wipro, things would have turned out differently for both him and Premji’s company.

In 1981, NR Narayana Murthy founded Infosys with six friends and a starting capital of Rs 10,000, contributed by his wife and author Sudha Murty.

At the time, Azim Premji transformed his inherited vegetable oil business into an IT software solutions provider.

As of January 12, 2024, Infosys holds a valuation of Rs 6.65 lakh crore, while Wipro is valued at Rs 2.43 lakh crore.

NR Narayana Murthy’s path to becoming a technology entrepreneur started with a position as a research associate at IIM Ahmedabad.

Next, he worked as a chief systems programmer and, in collaboration with a colleague, played a pivotal role in developing India’s inaugural BASIC interpreter for the TDC 312 computer, manufactured in the late 1960s by the Electronics Corporation of India Limited.

After this, he delved into his independent IT endeavour, Softronics, which failed before he founded Infosys.

Murthy’s attitude toward involving family in business considerably differs from that of Premji.

While Rishad Premji took charge of Wipro after his father’s departure in 2019, Murthy firmly asserts that his son Rohan has no intention of getting involved with Infosys.

“I think he’s even stricter than I am in these ideas; he will never say that,” he told CNBC-TV18.

Several decades ago, Murthy had a similar reaction when his wife Sudha Murty expressed a desire to join Infosys.

At that time, Murthy said that he did not support her involvement with Infosys, a decision he has recently acknowledged regretting.

Murthy admitted that his wife, an engineer herself, was more qualified than all seven co-founders, and he now admits that he was being overly idealistic in not supporting her aspiration to be a part of the Infosys team.