Vishal Sikka

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Vishal Sikka
Founder and CEO of Vianai Systems
Born (1967-05-01) 1 May 1967 (age 57)
Shajapur, Madhya Pradesh, India
Alma materStanford University (Ph.D. in Computer Science)
Syracuse University (B.S. in Computer Science)
Rosary High School (Vadodara)

Vishal Sikka (born May, 1967) is the founder and CEO of Vianai, former CTO of SAP AG, and former CEO of Infosys. He currently also serves on Oracle's board of directors, the supervisory board of the BMW Group[1] and as an advisor to the Stanford Institute of Human-Centered AI.[2]

His current endeavor, Vianai, is a startup based in San Francisco that provides software services in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.[3]

Previously, Sikka served as executive vice chairman, CEO, and managing director of Infosys. On 18 August 2017 he stepped down as managing director of Infosys. He left his role as executive vice chairman of Infosys on 24 August 2017 when Nandan Nilekani was appointed as the new non-executive chairman of the board. Prior to joining Infosys, Sikka was a member of the executive board and the global managing board of SAP AG, leading all SAP products and innovation globally. In his 12 years at SAP, Sikka led SAP's product portfolio including the in-memory platform, SAP HANA, and all its applications, cloud and technology solutions. Sikka left the SAP board in May 2014, and was announced as CEO and MD of Infosys on 12 June 2014.[4] After three years at Infosys, Sikka left on 18 August 2017.

India Today magazine ranked him #32nd in India's 50 Most powerful people of 2017 list.[5]

Early life and career[edit]

Sikka was born in Shajapur, Madhya Pradesh, India to Punjabi parents - an officer in the Indian Railways and a teacher.[6] His family moved to Vadodara in Gujarat when he was six. He did his schooling in Kendriya Vidyalaya, Rajkot and thereafter at a Christian school named Rosary High School (Vadodara). Sikka joined the bachelors in Computer Engineering course at Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, which he discontinued to go to Syracuse University in New York where he earned a B.S. in Computer Science. He completed his Ph.D. in 1996 from Stanford University.[7] His dissertation was titled Integrating Specialized Procedures into Proof Systems and his thesis advisor was Michael Genesereth.[8]

Marvin Minsky, one of the fathers of AI, wrote a recommendation letter for Sikka for his admission to Stanford. John McCarthy, also known as a father of AI, was one of Sikka's professors.[9]

After a brief stint at Xerox's research labs, Sikka founded iBrain which competed at the time with Business Objects. iBrain was acquired by PatternRX, Inc. His second startup,, focused on developing technology for non-invasive, service-based integration of enterprise applications and information. Sikka joined Peregrine Systems as their area vice-president following their acquisition of[10][11]


Sikka joined SAP in 2002 to head up the advanced technology group responsible for strategic innovative projects. Later he was promoted to senior vice president of architecture and chief software architect, responsible for the road map and the direction for the architecture of SAP products and infrastructure.[citation needed]

In April 2007, Sikka was named SAP's first-ever[12] CTO,[13] reporting to then CEO Henning Kagermann. At the time, SAP spokesman Frank Hartmann stated[14] that SAP felt it needed a CTO to oversee some broad changes that were under way at the company, including its renewed focus on the mid-market, the introduction of new on-demand products, and the continued roll out of NetWeaver and its SOA strategy.

In the wake of Léo Apotheker's resignation from the executive board in 2010 to become CEO of HP, Sikka was named to a newly reconstituted board, along with new co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe.[15]

On 4 May 2014, Sikka announced his departure from SAP after being named leader of Infosys.[16]

Sikka was named to Oracle's board of directors in December 2019.[17][18]


On 12 June 2014, Infosys Ltd, India's second-largest IT services exporter, named Sikka as its chief executive officer and managing director.[4] Sikka took over from then-CEO S.D. Shibulal, one of Infosys' founders, on 1 August.[19] He was inducted as a whole-time director of the Board and CEO & MD (Designate) of Infosys on 14 June.[20] His annual compensation was set at $13 million and stock options worth $9million.[21] Vishal Sikka resigned from Infosys as MD and CEO on 18 August 2017.[22] He was replaced on interim basis by U. B. Pravin Rao on 24 August 2017.


In 2019, Sikka founded Vianai, an AI company, with $50 million in initial funding[23] and advisors that included Indra Nooyi, John Etchemendy, Divesh Makan, Sebastian Thrun, and Alan Kay.[24][25]

During a platform demo on September 17, 2019, Sikka said that Vianai had created its own programming language to enable more developers and companies to utilize AI and Machine Learning techniques.[26][27]

Additional background[edit]

In 2008, Sikka joined the executive board of the CTO Forum, an industry non-profit community.[28]

He has expressed his admiration for industry visionary Alan Kay and contributed a chapter to Points of View, a tribute on Kay's 70th birthday.[citation needed]

Sikka served as a member of the advisory board for Coghead from 2006 to 2009 along with Steve Bourne, Guy Kawasaki and John Seely Brown.[29] Coghead was acquired by SAP in 2009.

Sikka has been an advocate for HANA, SAP's in-memory database technology. He spearheaded the development of HANA since his appointment as CTO with support from Hasso Plattner.[30][31][32][33][34]


  1. ^ "BMW Group sets strategic course under challenging conditions". 15 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Vishal Sikka".
  3. ^ "Vishal Sikka: How AI Can be Used to 'Amplify Humanity'".
  4. ^ a b "Vishal Sikka to be CEO and MD of Infosys from August 1". Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  5. ^ "India's 50 powerful people". India Today. 14 April 2017.
  6. ^ Nandakumar, Indu (13 June 2014). "Vishal Sikka: My wife calls me a fake Punjabi". Times of India.
  7. ^ Genesereth, Michael. "Ph.D. Graduates, Stanford University, Dept. of Computer Science". Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  8. ^ "Vishal Sikka: Mathematics Genealogy Project". American Mathematical Society. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  9. ^ "Vishal Sikka: Reaching for the Future without Abandoning Infosys's Past - Knowledge@Wharton". Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  10. ^ Mishra, Pankaj (2 December 2010). "Vishal Sikka: We're running 20 start-ups at SAP". The Economic Times. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  11. ^ "Information Integration for e-Commerce". Stanford University Infolab. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  12. ^ Wailgum, Thomas (18 June 2009). "SAP's first ever CTO prepares for battle". Computerworld UK. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  13. ^ Khan, Shabana. "SAP Appoints Vishal Sikka as Chief Technology Officer; Establishes New Office of the CTO under Sikka's Leadership". SAP Global Communications. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  14. ^ Niccolai, James (30 May 2007). "SAP Names Vishal Sikka as Its First CTO". CIO Magazine. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  15. ^ Wailgum, Thomas (17 May 2010). "SAP's "Third" CEO: Vishal Sikka". CIO Magazine. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
  16. ^ "May 4, 2014 Press Release by SAP News". SAP News (Press release). 4 May 2014. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  17. ^ "Oracle Names Vishal Sikka to the Board of Directors" (Press release). Oracle Corporation. 9 December 2019.
  18. ^ Hebbar, Prajakta (10 December 2019). "Vishal Sikka Joins Oracle's Board Of Directors". Analytics India Magazine. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Infosys Names Vishal Sikka First External CEO; Chairman Murthy to Step Down". 12 June 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  20. ^ Limited, Infosys. "Infosys to appoint Dr. Vishal Sikka as Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director". Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  21. ^ "Here's all you wanted to know about Infosys head honcho Vishal Sikka's salary". The Economic Times.
  22. ^ "Vishal shake up at Infosys; Sikka logs out as CEO". India Today. 18 August 2017. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  23. ^ "Vishal Sikka's AI startup gets $50-mn funding". 3 September 2019.
  24. ^ "CEO And Founder of Vianai, Dr. Vishal Sikka, Demoed a New AI Platform Vision Today at Oracle Open World" (Press release).
  25. ^ "Sec Form D".
  26. ^ "Oracle OpenWorld - Featured Speakers". Archived from the original on 7 November 2016.
  27. ^ @vsikka (17 September 2019). "A glimpse of a breakthrough we've been working on..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  28. ^ "SAP CTO Vishal Sikka Joins CTO Forum Executive Board". Reuters (Press Release). Archived from the original on 3 April 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
  29. ^ Harris, Mimi (3 October 2006). "Industry Luminaries Throw Their Weight Behind Coghead". Business Wire / Eastwick Communications. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  30. ^ Bjorlin, Courtney (21 September 2011). "Vishal Sikka Gets Real on SAP HANA Benefits and Barriers". ASUG News. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  31. ^ Kanaracus, Chris (21 June 2011). "SAP's HANA in-memory analytics engine now available". PCWorld Australia. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  32. ^ Talbot, Chris (13 September 2011). "SAP TechEd: SAP bets big on HANA". ChannelBuzz Canada. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  33. ^ Henschen, Doug (14 December 2011). "SAP: We'll Be No. 2 Database Player By 2015". Information Week. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  34. ^ Kwinika, Savious (10 November 2011). "SAP wants all ERP use HANA". CAJ News. Retrieved 12 January 2012.

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