Even as Infosys management denies allegations on corporate governance deficit, its former chief financial officer T V Mohandas Pai on Tuesday accused it of not disclosing necessary details on Rajiv Bansal’s exit with a high severance package of Rs 17.3 crore.
“In October 2015, they had a press release saying the CFO is going, and both the CFO and CEO said nice things about each other. They did not disclose (the severance package)... They didn’t disclose after the December quarter (results),” Pai told PTI on the sidelines of an event here.
The tussle between some of the Infosys founders and the management comes at a time when the company is flush with a cash pile of more than USD 5 billion and there have been demands of its distribution among shareholders by way of share buyback.
Pai was answering a specific question on the management’s claim of abiding by founders’ maxim of ‘disclose when in doubt’ and assertions on abiding by corporate governance standards made during a marathon press conference last evening.
Pai claimed that the company disclosed the severance agreement it had reached with the then CFO Bansal in the annual report only after the media got a whiff of the matter.
“Nobody pays you 24 months of severance in India,” he said and also questioned the current management’s justification on a lack of chemistry between chief executive Vishal Sikka and Bansal.
Stressing on the importance of the post, Pai said the CFO is responsible for financial integrity and added that the audit committee of the board should have stepped in with posers on the high payout to “get rid” of a person who is “inconvenient” to the management.
Asked if it was the USD 200 million buy of Israeli company Panaya that led to the exit, he declined to comment.
Company Chairman R Seshasayee had on Monday defended all the controversial actions of the board. In the case of Bansal’s severance pay, he had said the agreement was arrived at after going through circumstances that time and conceded that last year it had put in place a severance policy which does away with any subjectivity.
Pai, who left the company in 2011, said the controversy has been triggered because the promoter group led by N R Narayana Murthy feels that the board has “erred” in abiding by the high standards of corporate governance with which it had grown the company.
Stating that such work should be applauded, Pai asked institutional investors to come out and support the founders.
“I want all institutional shareholders to come together and rise to demand better performance from all the companies. Institutional investors not talking about it is a disgrace to investors,” he said.