Amid a growing conflict between the Infosys’ board and founders, CEO Vishal Sikka on Monday met institutional investors at an event in Mumbai. Describing his relationship with NR Narayana Murthy as “warm”, Sikka said he has a “wonderful” equation with the founders.
When asked about the reported divide between the Board and the founders, he said that “drama” going on in the media is “distracting”.
“All this drama that has been going on in the media, it’s very distracting - it takes away attention - but underneath that there is a very strong fabric that this company is based on and it is a real privilege for me to be its leader,” Sikka said.
This comes at a time when former Infosys CFO TV 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 step down, Balakrishnan said he 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 the 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.