Infosys Ltd CEO Vishal Sikka sought to calm potential tension among employees, amid the continuously unfolding high drama about corporate governance concerns raised by the founders over three executives’ high salaries and severance pay.
Sikka asked the employees to keep a ‘sharp focus’ on executing the company’s strategy, which he said was bolstered by its services. In an email to the employees, Sikka also asked them to not get distracted and keep away from speculations questioning the company’s commitment, governance and integrity.
Infosys founders N R Narayana Murthy, Kris Gopalakrishnan and Nandan Nilekani wrote to the board last month expressing their concerns over corporate governance with the board, including the quantum of salary hike given to the CEO Vishal Sikka and the size of the severance packages given to former CFO Rajiv Bansal and former General Counsel David Kennedy.
On its part, Infosys said that the issues raised by the founder group, including CEO compensation, are old, and have been already addressed by the board. “Entire Infosys board is aligned (with Sikka) and backs CEO,” unidentified company sources told ET Now earlier.
Sikka, in his letter to the employees, downplayed the developments being played out in the news. “Let us not get distracted by media speculation designed to stir up gossip,” he said.
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Sikka also stressed on the company’s strengths in his mail to the employees, ostensibly to keep their morale high in what could be potentially turbulent time for them. The company is creating unprecedented value for clients, employees and shareholders, Sikka said, adding that Infosys has held margins through operational efficiency improvements and automation benefits.
Upping the ante
Earlier today, Infosys pulled founder Nandan Nilekani’s name into the mix by saying that he had voted in favour of the Vishal Sikka’s compensation, and defended the pay hike further by saying that the company had also obtained the shareholder approval for it.
While the company board is reported be aligned with Sikka’s views, the three founders, who together have just about 13% shareholding in the company, had suggested that former board members like T V Mohandas Pai, V Balakrishnan and Marty Subramanian be brought back as directors in order to foster ‘Infosys values’.
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EXCL What’s concerning @Infosys founders? @ShereenBhan tells you here. pic.twitter.com/fRnk6gLMzP
— CNBC-TV18 News (@CNBCTV18News) February 8, 2017
The founders, in their letter, raised questions on certain decisions taken by the company in the last one year, feeling that the board should have been more proactive in questioning the decisions at their end.
Currently, Infosys board is led by the non-executive Chairman R Seshasayee. The founders, in their letter to the board, had said that the board should have upheld the corporate governance standards set by them. None of the original founders is on the board or in executive management position at the company.