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No active role for Vishal Sikka at Infosys, won’t be involved in selecting new CEO

An Infosys spokesperson said in response to queries about Sikka’s new role that the company would “not comment on rumors and speculation”.

business Updated: Aug 22, 2017 09:43 IST
Anirban Sen and Varun Sood
Anirban Sen and Varun Sood
Livemint, New Delhi
Vishal Sikka,Infosys,Infosys CEO
Former Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka speaks with the media at the company’s headquarters in Bengaluru.(Reuters File Photo)

Vishal Sikka, who was named executive vice chairman of Infosys Ltd on Friday after abruptly stepping down as CEO will not play an active role in the company, three executives at the company familiar with the development said on condition of anonymity. Sikka was expected to help shape the strategy, especially the technology strategy of the company.

An Infosys spokesperson said in response to queries about Sikka’s new role that the company would “not comment on rumors and speculation.”

The three executives added that Sikka has taken a back seat from his active duties of CEO over the past few weeks, skipping some internal briefings and calls, and also not actively meeting the firm’s top Fortune 500 customers.

The unofficial end of Sikka’s run at Infosys marks an abrupt end to the tenure of a man, who was a wunderkind at SAP SE and the brain behind German software firm’s blockbuster data analytics platform HANA.

Significantly, Sikka, who earned $6.7 million last year and has agreed to work for a $1 salary, will not play any role in the selection process of the new CEO.

“The mere fact that Sikka has agreed to take $1 salary is reflective of the message being sent out,” said one of the three executives. “He will not be part of the Infosys journey going forward.”

On August 18, Sikka stepped down as Infosys’s first non-founder chief executive, citing “unrelenting, baseless/malicious and increasingly personal attacks”. The board separately blamed founder NR Narayana Murthy for Sikka’s departure.

Surprisingly, the letter from Sikka to employees last week, did not find any mention of his new responsibility in Infosys.

“A succession process has been initiated, with (chief operating officer) Pravin Rao serving as interim managing director and CEO, and I will work closely with the Board and management team over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition,” Sikka wrote in his letter.

Sikka’s tenure as executive vice chairman is linked to Infosys finding a new CEO, which needs to be completed by March 2018.

“Dr Sikka will continue to focus on strategic initiatives, key customer relationships and technology development. He will report to the company’s board.”

“Any company equity awards held by Dr Sikka that remain outstanding and unvested shall, during his term as executive vice chairman, remain outstanding and shall continue to vest (and, in the case of stock options, become exercisable) in accordance with their terms,” the company added.

(Published in arrangement with Livemint)

First Published: Aug 22, 2017 09:43 IST