Outsourcing company iGate Corp said it had sacked its chief executive Phaneesh Murthy for not disclosing a relationship with a subordinate after investigating one of India's best-known IT executives for sexual harassment.
Murthy was replaced with immediate effect by interim CEO Gerhard Watzinger, iGate said.
Murthy was forced to quit Infosys Ltd in 2002 following a sexual harassment lawsuit, which was settled out of court.
Here is the company statement dated 20 May, 2013:
Fremont, Calif, May 20, 2013 - iGATE Corporation (NASDAQ: IGTE) announced today that its Board of Directors has decided to terminate the employment of President and CEO Phaneesh Murthy. Concurrently, the Board has appointed Gerhard Watzinger as President and CEO on an interim basis. All changes are effective immediately.
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. The investigation, which is ongoing, has reached the finding that Mr. Murthy's failure to report this relationship violated iGATE's policy, as well as Mr. Murthy's employment contract. The investigation has not uncovered any violation of iGATE's harassment policy.
"The Board deliberated extensively on this matter," said Sunil Wadhwani, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of the Board of iGATE. "We recognize the significant contributions Mr. Murthy has provided over the past ten years in helping to establish iGATE as a leader in the IT industry. He has worked hard to improve the value of iGATE, and we greatly appreciate his efforts. However, as a result of this violation of iGATE policy, we asked Mr. Murthy to step down."
Gerhard Watzinger, age 52, is a successful 29-year IT industry veteran, who previously served as an executive at iGATE from 1998 to 2003 in a number of roles, including CEO of the iGATE Solutions business (formerly Mascot Systems). During his tenure, Watzinger drove iGATE Solutions' transition from a U.S.-centric operation to an international organization across four continents, closed some of the largest deals in the company's history and increased the company's market value by over 150%. Watzinger returns to iGATE from INTEL / McAfee, where he was EVP and Chief Strategy Officer. Previously, Watzinger also served as CEO of both SafeBoot and APT International, Partner and Managing Director at Price Waterhouse and Managing Director at CapGemini.
"Mr. Murthy's departure was not related in any way to the company's operational or financial performance, both of which remain strong," said Ashok Trivedi, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of the Board of iGATE. "iGATE will continue to focus on creating value for our customers and shareholders, while upholding the highest ethical standards in every area of our business. We are fortunate to have Gerhard Watzinger returning to iGATE during this transition. Watzinger possesses deep knowledge of iGATE's business and he assumes his responsibilities as our Interim President and CEO with the full support of the Board."
"iGATE has great resources and a deep bench of talent from which to draw upon to further create shareholder value," said Mr. Watzinger. "We have a clear strategy that has put us in this strong position to maintain our successes into the future. Continuing to execute this strategy is our top priority."
Mr. Wadhwani and Mr. Trivedi will work closely with Mr. Watzinger during his tenure as Interim President and CEO to ensure a seamless transition.
A Search Committee within the Board of Directors has been created, which will oversee the process for the identification and selection of a new President and CEO. The Committee has been charged with selecting an experienced industry veteran to take over as the permanent President and CEO and drive long-term growth for iGATE, while upholding the highest ethical standards, personally and professionally.
Mr. Watzinger has taken himself out of consideration for the role of permanent President and CEO, but he will serve as Interim President and CEO until the selection process is complete. The company does not expect to make any additional structural or executive leadership changes in the near future.