Vishal Sikka blames personal attacks for decision to resign as Infosys CEO in blog
Bengaluru: In a blogpost on his personal blog on Friday, Vishal Sikka blamed “ unrelenting, baseless and increasingly” personal attacks for his decision to step down as CEO of Infosys, adding that he had no regrets from his three-year tenure at India’s second largest software services exporter.
“For days, indeed weeks, this decision has weighed on me. I have wrestled the pros and cons, the issues and the counterbalancing arguments. But now, after much thought, and considering the environment of the last few quarters, I am clear in my decision. It is clear to me that despite our successes over the last three years, and the powerful seeds of innovation that we have sown, I cannot carry out my job as CEO and continue to create value, while also constantly defending against unrelenting, baseless/malicious and increasingly personal attacks,” Sikka said in the blogpost.
Sikka’s abrupt resignation comes after he has been caught up in turmoil at Infosys over the past one and a half years during which the company’s founders and the board has been at odds with each other. During this period Infosys, has also been caught up in several internal investigations related to the company’s acquisition of Panaya and a large severance payout to former chief financial officer Rajiv Bansal.
In his resignation letter, Sikka appeared to also take an indirect dig at the founders of Infosys, saying that the personal attacks were “amplified by the very people from whom we all expected the most steadfast support in this great transformation.”
“Allegations that have been repeatedly proven false and baseless by multiple, independent investigations. But despite this, the attacks continue, and worse still, amplified by the very people from whom we all expected the most steadfast support in this great transformation,” said Sikka in his resignation letter, a copy of which was sent to stock exchanges on Friday morning.
In his blogpost, Sikka also appeared to indicate that he had achieved all his goals of executing a complex technology transformation at Infosys and had successfully orchestrated a turnaround in its fortunes.
“In 2014, we started with a very challenging set of conditions, and in the last three years, we have decisively turned things around,” Sikka said.
Sikka’s tenure at Infosys was marred by significant disagreements between the company’s founders and the board of Infosys. The disagreements between the founders, led by NR Narayana Murthy, and the board started in February last year when the board decided to give Sikka a 55% pay hike to $11 million. Only 23.57% of promoter votes were cast in favour of reappointing Sikka as managing director and CEO in April last year.
“Back in May 2014, when I first met many board colleagues, I thought of the road ahead as a road for the next 33 years of this iconic company. For Infosys is more than a company: it is an idea, a dream, a pioneering possibility…. Three years later, we can clearly see that the seeds of this idea have taken root and are growing, into beautiful new flowers and plants, and I see no reason why these cannot continue, and help shape our company’s future,” Sikka said in his blogpost.
Sikka said that after much contemplation, he wanted to leave “because the distractions, the very public noise around us, have created an untenable atmosphere.”
“Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other opinions drown your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become,” said Sikka, referring to the commencement speech delivered by Apple’s iconic founder Steve Jobs at Stanford University in 2005.
“As Steve Jobs said, I must follow my heart and my intuition, build my buildings, give my givings, and do something else. Over the next weeks and months, I look forward to working with the Board and management to create a smooth transition, and simultaneously staring into the great unknown, and to doing something great, something purposeful, for the times ahead. And also to spend some time with my loved ones. I’ve been away from home far too often and far too long,” added Sikka in the blogpost.
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