1. Infosys crisis: R Seshasayee attacks Narayana Murthy; gets support from Lehman, Etchemendy

Infosys crisis: R Seshasayee attacks Narayana Murthy; gets support from Lehman, Etchemendy

In a strongly worded statement, Seshasayee said that Murthy made misleading statements attributing words to him that were out of context to make it appear that he was not stating the truth regarding the high severance package paid to former CFO Rajiv Bansal.

By: | Published: September 2, 2017 5:41 AM
Seshasayee, Rajiv Bansal, Murthy, Infosys, Lehnman, Infosys crisis In a strongly worded statement, Seshasayee said that Murthy made misleading statements attributing words to him that were out of context to make it appear that he was not stating the truth regarding the high severance package paid to former CFO Rajiv Bansal. (Image: IE)

In a clear indication that the crisis at Infosys is far from over and the war of words between co-founder NR Narayana Murthy and former board members continue, ex-chairman R Seshasayee on Friday came out strongly against comments made by Murthy against him in his call with investors on Tuesday. In a strongly worded statement, Seshasayee said that Murthy made misleading statements attributing words to him that were out of context to make it appear that he was not stating the truth regarding the high severance package paid to former CFO Rajiv Bansal.  “Murthy’s statement to investors misleadingly attributes words to me that are taken completely out of context, making it appear that I was not stating the truth. I wish to categorically state that I have been candid and truthful in all my statements regarding Infosys.

To quote an anonymous whistle-blower letter that alleged many things, which have subsequently been proved baseless and false through multiple investigations by highly respected counsel, in order to give an impression to the audience that I lied to the shareholders, is patently offensive,” Seshasayee said in a statement. He added that the words Murthy attributed to Jeff Lehman (former board member) and Roopa Kudva (still on the board), from their private conversation with him are also “egregiously taken out of context”. At his investor call on Tuesday, Murthy had highlighted the inconsistent responses from former board members, Seshasayee included, when the co-founders had sought an explanation on the high payout.

For instance, he had said that on June 18, 2016, Seshasayee had told shareholders at the AGM that the board agreed to pay the sum to Bansal because he was privy to a lot of price-sensitive information. Then on June 28, 2016, he had said the decision was taken by David Kennedy, the former general counsel, and then finally on October 14, 2016, said the board agreed to pay the sum because it felt generous. Regarding, Lehman, Murthy had said that he refused to provide him an explanation saying the matter was confidential and Kudva had said that Murthy and others would have to sign a non-disclosure agreement if they wanted to know the reason.

Questioning the increasingly personal attacks by Murthy, Seshasayee said, “It is regrettable that Murthy’s campaign on the alleged governance lapses has continually slipped into personal attacks and slander on the individual board members… I am therefore at a loss to understand the motivations for this personal vendetta against me.” He added that it was Murthy who invited him to join the board and entrusted to him the chair of the audit committee while he (Murthy) was still the chairman. As late as February 2017, much after the alleged lapses took place, Murthy also issued a press statement that “I was a man of high integrity”.

Former board members also reiterated their support for Seshasayee in the joint statement issued on Friday. One, John Etchemendy, said, “Sesh is a man of impeccable integrity… I am fully conversant with the details of the Rajiv Bansal issue and I can categorically state that at no point did Sesh say anything in public or, to the best of my knowledge, in private that was untrue or did not reflect the collective view of the board.”  Similarly, Lehman, who recently resigned from the board, questioned why an anonymous complaint, which had been investigated and found false, was being legitimised by Murthy as a whistle-blower complaint.

“For the good of Infosys, I wish Murthy would stop quoting those lies as if they were reputable. For the good of Infosys, I wish Murthy would stop defaming Seshasayee and other members of a board who have served with dedication and integrity, who have turned the other cheek when slandered, and who have only acted in the best interests of the company,” he said. As is known, Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani stepped in as non-executive chairman of the board last week, which Murthy has welcomed while maintaining his stance that the investigation report on the severance package paid to Bansal and other alleged lapses should be made public.

He added that it was Murthy who invited him to join the board and entrusted to him the chair of the audit committee while he (Murthy) was still the chairman. As late as February 2017, much after the alleged lapses took place, Murthy also issued a press statement that “I was a man of high integrity”. Former board members also reiterated their support for Seshasayee in the joint statement issued on Friday. One, John Etchemendy, said, “Sesh is a man of impeccable integrity… I am fully conversant with the details of the Rajiv Bansal issue and I can categorically state that at no point did Sesh say anything in public or, to the best of my knowledge, in private that was untrue or did not reflect the collective view of the board.”

Similarly, Lehman, who recently resigned from the board, questioned why an anonymous complaint, which had been investigated and found false, was being legitimised by Murthy as a whistle-blower complaint. “For the good of Infosys, I wish Murthy would stop quoting those lies as if they were reputable. For the good of Infosys, I wish Murthy would stop defaming Seshasayee and other members of a board who have served with dedication and integrity, who have turned the other cheek when slandered, and who have only acted in the best interests of the company,” he said. As is known, Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani stepped in as non-executive chairman of the board last week, which Murthy has welcomed while maintaining his stance that the investigation report on the severance package paid to Bansal and other alleged lapses should be made public.

  1. Y
    Yash Pal
    Sep 3, 2017 at 11:41 am
    NRN holds a very powerful remote control unless it is jammed, there is no hope for Infosys.
    Reply

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