1. Infosys board backs Vishal Sikka; says won’t give in to Narayana Murthy’s tirade any more

Infosys board backs Vishal Sikka; says won’t give in to Narayana Murthy’s tirade any more

Infosys' board stepped up to back up the outgoing CEO Vishal Sikka, while seeking to make it plain that the company would no longer give in to the pressure from the founders' continuous attacks.

By: | Published: August 18, 2017 1:38 PM
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Even as Infosys MD and CEO Vishal Sikka walks out the door, tired of a relentless campaign by the company’s founders against his management of India’s second-largest information technology services firm, the board members stepped up to back up the outgoing executive. Only, this time they did not seem to placate the founders with words of reconciliation, but rather took a no-holds-barred approach to make it plain that the company would no longer give in to the pressure from them.

The board, in a statement sent to the stock exchanges, said that it will not be distracted by the misguided campaign by N R Narayana Murthy, putting the blame for Vishal Sikka’s exodus squarely on Narayan Murthy’s continuous assault, including his latest letter which raised questions on his ability as the CEO.

“Murthy’s continuous assault, including this latest letter, is the primary reason that the CEO, Vishal Sikka, has resigned despite strong Board support,” the board said in its statement to the BSE. Referring to Narayana Murthy’s latest letter attacking the company, the board sought to yet again dispel the allegations. “The Board takes great umbrage to the contents of the letter… Murthy’s letter contains factual inaccuracies, already-disproved rumours, and statements extracted out of context from his conversations with board members,” Infosys board said in the statement.

Earlier today, Vishal Sikka, who had joined Infosys just three years ago in 2014 from SAP, said that he is resigning from Infosys on the account of rising personal disruptions. Vishal Sikka said that 100s of hours were spent on tackling drumbeat of distraction, and that the attacks undermined the good work done by the company. The ongoing tussle between Infosys founder N R Narayana Murthy and the board, which started sometime late last year, continued to turn murkier, with the veteran most recently asking that the findings of the law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas relating to corporate governance lapses be made public.

Previously, the founders led by N R Narayan Murthy had raised issues pertaining to the quantum of salary hike given to Vishal Sikka and the size of the severance packages given to former CFO Rajiv Bansal and former General Counsel David Kennedy. Meanwhile, troubles at Infosys Ltd, once India’s bellwether information technology services company, seemed to rise with senior executives making a beeline towards the exit door.

Today, Infosys board also sought to put an end to making efforts towards reconciling with the founders. “The board… believes that any further use of resources and time on these matters would be a distraction for the company and would enable those wishing unfairly to attack company personnel to continue this harmful conduct. Therefore, the board has formally closed the investigations of the anonymous allegations so that the company can focus on strategy, performance, and the creation of shareholder value,” it said in the statement.

Further, the statement also made it clear that Murthy will not be invited back to run the company. “Given the commitment of the Board to remain independent and pursue a chosen strategy, the board currently has no intention of asking Mr. Murthy to play a formal role in the governance of the organization,” it said.

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