Outsourcing company iGate Corporation on Tuesday sacked its chief executive officer and one of India's best-known IT executives Phaneesh Murthy for not disclosing to the company his relationship with a subordinate employee, after probing a sexual harassment complaint against him.
Phaneesh Murthy, president and CEO of iGate, poses during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. Reuters
Murthy had lost his job with India's second largest software exporter Infosys in 2002 following a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by his former secretary Reka Maximovitch. Infosys had paid $3 million to Maximovitch for an out-of-court settlement.
"The board's decision was made as a result of an investigation, by outside legal counsel engaged by the board, of the facts and circumstances surrounding a relationship Mr Murthy had with a subordinate employee and a claim of sexual harassment," US-listed iGate said in a statement.
The investigation showed that Murthy had violated iGate's policy by failing to report his relationship with the employee, the statement said. Murthy did not violate iGate's harassment policy, it added.
Phaneesh, however, said he had informed the company about his relationship with the female employee, adding there was no parallel between the 2002 sexual harassment case and the current one.
"This is without doubt a case of extortion. The same lawyer who had represented the woman in 2002 is representing the woman this time as well. You can spot the difference," he told a news channel.
The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom), India's premier trade association of IT and BPO organisations, termed Phaneesh's sacking a "right decision".
"I think the decision reflects what IT industry stands for. It stands for the highest standards of governance and integrity," Nasscom chairman Krishnakumar Natarajan told reporters on the sidelines of a function.
Murthy was replaced with immediate effect by interim CEO Gerhard Watzinger, iGate said. Most employees of iGate, which is based in Fremont, are in India.