Vishal Sikka exit: Here’s how the blame game is playing out at Infosys
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New Delhi: Infosys chief executive officer and managing director Vishal Sikka on Friday resigned from his post, citing “unrelenting, baseless/malicious and increasingly personal attacks” as the main reason for his move.
Sikka has been facing sharp criticism led by Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy from the last one and a half years during over the company’s acquisition of Panaya and a large severance payout to former chief financial officer Rajiv Bansal. More recently, Murthy, who in an email to advisors, quoted three independent directors of the company as saying that Sikka was not “CEO material”, but more suited to be the chief technology officer.
Sikka’s resignation and related developments in Infosys has has sparked a bitter blame game. Here are some of those reactions:
■ Vishal Sikka: “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,” the former Infosys MD & CEO said in his blogpost.
■ Infosys board: “Mr. Murthy’s continuous assault, including this latest letter, is the primary reason that the CEO, Dr. Vishal Sikka, has resigned despite strong board support. Mr. Murthy’s campaign against the board and the company has had the unfortunate effect to undermine the company’s efforts to transform itself. The board has been engaged in a dialogue with the founder to resolve his concerns over the course of a year, trying earnestly to find feasible solutions within the boundaries of law and without compromising its independence. These dialogues have unfortunately not been successful,” said a statement by Infosys to the stock exchange on Friday.
■ Ravi Venkatesan: “The question was posed to me last week—would you consider a formal role for Mr. Murthy? And I had said, of course yes, because if a shareholder comes with a proposal, it is the duty of the board to consider it. And so yes, we would. Unfortunately the events of the last 48 hours have made it quite difficult at this point of time for the board to really consider that actively.”
■ N. R. Narayana Murthy: “I voluntarily left the Board in 2014 and am not seeking any money, position for children or power. My concern primarily was the deteriorating standard of corporate governance which I have repeatedly brought to the attention of the board,” said the Infosys Ltd co-founder in his statement on Friday.
■ R. Seshasayee: “There is no change in buyback plans. We have made a commitment on how much and when to return cash to shareholders... to suggest that world renowned law and forensic firms will connive with the board, not once but twice...and overlook something which is a misdeed and submit a clean report, to our mind, is completely untenable,” PTI quoted the Infosys chairman as saying.