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As board and founder divide widens Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka to address investors

Amid the ongoing conflict between Infosys’ board and its founders, CEO Vishal Sikka is scheduled to meet institutional investors tomorrow at an event in Mumbai. This comes at a time when former Infosys CFO, T V Mohandas Pai has exhorted institutional investors to raise questions about the huge cash pile on the company’s books and governance issues, as investors have an obligation to protect their investment.

Infosys Divide Updated: Feb 13, 2017 23:06 IST
HT Correspondent
Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka finds himself in the middle of an acrimonious battle between the Board and the founders of the IT major.
Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka finds himself in the middle of an acrimonious battle between the Board and the founders of the IT major. (Hemant Mishra/ Mint)

Amid the ongoing conflict between Infosys’ board and its founders, CEO Vishal Sikka is scheduled to meet institutional investors tomorrow at an event in Mumbai.

The event may see Sikka briefing participating fund managers on issues that have prompted some of Infosys’ co-founders, including N R Narayana Murthy, to publicly air their discontent against the Board.

Sikka will deliver a keynote address at Kotak’s Chasing Growth Conference on February 13 in Mumbai at 10 am.

Sikka’s participation was confirmed by a company spokesperson saying the event was scheduled much before these developments.

Such events usually see investors and industry analysts asking questions about the macro environment, business prospects and challenges, but given the developments seen in the past few days, clarifications relating to the feud between founders and the Board is likely to dominate the proceedings.

This comes at a time when former Infosys CFO, T V Mohandas Pai has exhorted institutional investors to raise questions about the huge cash pile on the company’s books and governance issues, as investors have an obligation to protect their investment.

“Capital allocation is very important. Institutional investors should raise those questions. They have a duty...institutional investors should raise questions on governance because it concerns the company’s reputation,” Pai told PTI in an interview.

Another former CFO V Balakrishnan said an interim chairman should be appointed at the earliest to “effectively” engage with its co-founders.

Demanding that Chairman Ramaswami Seshasayee steps down, Balakrishnan said the Chairman should take responsibility for the “lapses” in corporate governance at the Bengaluru-based company.

Sikka, along with some of the Board members, is also scheduled to interact with the media later in the day to clear the air over various issues flagged by the founders.

Last week, Sikka called members of the senior management to assuage concerns and has advised them not to get “distracted” by the ongoing tussle and instead focus on company’s business and strategy.

Murthy, along with other co-founders Nandan Nilekani and S Gopalakrishnan, had written to Infosys board asking why Sikka’s compensation was raised and hefty severance packages offered to two top-level executives who quit the company.

Murthy, who has gone public with his views, questioned “paying the former CFO (Rajiv Bansal) a 30-month severance pay.”

Infosys, however, has denied any corporate governance lapses, and has emphasised that its Board is fully aligned with the strategic direction of Sikka and is very appreciative of the initiatives taken by him in pursuance of this transformation.

Read more: Infosys: A Tata-Mistry in making, but Vishal Sikka is no Cyrus Mistry