Narayana Murthy's Continuous Assault Why Vishal Sikka Resigned: Infosys

Vishal Sikka has resigned blaming a "continuous stream of distractions and disruptions."

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Narayana Murthy's Continuous Assault Why Vishal Sikka Resigned: Infosys

Narayana Murthy had criticised the company's leadership over executive pay packages.

Highlights

  1. Infosys blamed co-founder Narayana Murthy for Vishal Sikka's resignation
  2. Mr. Murthy in a letter last week attacked the integrity of the board
  3. Mr Murthy has repeatedly criticised the company's leadership
Co-founder NR Narayana Murthy's "continuous assault" including his latest letter is the primary reason Vishal Sikka has quit, Infosys said today hours after announcing its CEO and Managing Director's resignation. The Infosys Board, the company said, has no intention of asking N R Narayana Murthy to play a formal role in the company's governance.

The IT major said Mr. Murthy's letter written last week and alleging falling corporate governance standards in the company, attacked the integrity of the board and management of the company. The board said it "takes great umbrage to the contents of the letter" and that it will not give in to demands from former top Infosys executives to bring back Mr Murthy as Infosys chairman.

"Mr. Murthy has repeatedly made inappropriate demands which are inconsistent with his stated desire for stronger governance. The board is a fully independent board, with professionals as its members who have been appointed by a clear majority of the shareholders," the company said.

Mr Murthy has led Infosys' founders in repeatedly criticising the company's leadership over executive pay packages and for what they have called lapses in corporate governance, which Dr Sikka and the board have consistently denied.

In an email to some of his advisers last week, Mr Murthy had reportedly said that he had been told by at least three independent directors of the company that Vishal Sikka was less CEO material and more chief technology officer (CTO) material. He also criticised the Infosys board for not upholding governance standards and for not creating checks and balances required in any well-run company, the newspaper Mint had reported.

Amid the growing acrimony between the company's board and its founders, Vishal Sikka resigned saying that "increasingly personal" attacks had hit morale at the company, which has been trying to keep pace with rapid changes in the industry.

"Over the last many months and quarters, we have all been besieged by false, baseless, malicious and increasingly personal attacks," the 50-year-old said, adding, "The distractions that we have seen, the constant drumbeat of the same issues over and over again, while ignoring and undermining the good work that has been done, take the excitement and passion out of this amazing journey."

He said he would stay on temporarily as executive vice chairman to ensure a "smooth transition". Infosys veteran UB Pravin Rao, currently chief operating officer, will take over as interim chief executive.

Infosys said since Dr Sikka was appointed as MD and CEO in August 2014, the company has delivered competitive financial performance through profitable revenue growth and has continued to maintain the highest standards of corporate governance that the company is known for.

Dr Sikka was the first Infosys chief executive who wasn't one of the company's founders. He is based in the United States, where the company earns nearly two-thirds of its revenue.

Meanwhile, Infosys founder Narayana Murthy, singled out by the board of the software giant for the abrupt resignation of CEO Vishal Sikka, today said he is "anguished" by the allegations and is not seeking money, position for children or power." The 70-year-old reiterated that his chief concern has been "the deteriorating standard of corporate governance".

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