Infosys chief quits in rift with founders

An investors checks changing share prices on an electronic indicator during a session at BSE

Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka announced on Thursday that he has resigned from his position effectively immediately, saying that he could no longer continue to defend against "unrelenting, baseless and increasingly personal attacks".

Company insiders believe that Murthy was annoyed with the hike in salaries of the top management and had lambasted Infosys for alleged lapses in corporate governance in last one year. I have wrestled the pros and cons, the issues and the counterbalancing arguments. Rao will report to Sikka, who will serve as executive vice chairman until a permanent CEO takes office, which Infosys said is expected to happen no later than March 31, 2018.

"Murthy's campaign against the Board and the company has had the unfortunate effect to undermine its efforts to transform itself".

It was in February this year, when the founders of Infosys flagged concerns over transparency and corporate governance in the company questioning the compensation package of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Vishal Sikka and the severance package for its former chief compliance officer David Kennedy.

Hours prior to Mr Sikka's resignation, a private email from founding chairman Narayana Murthy was made public, the email detailed leadership doubts held by a number of board members.

"The board denounces the critics who have amplified and sought to further promote demonstrably false allegations which have harmed employee morale and contributed to the loss of the company's valued CEO".

Feb 2017: Company reassures investors and analysts it was not being distracted by a dispute with founders.

"All that I hear from at least three independent directors, including Ravi Venkatesan (co-chairman), are complaints about Sikka".

In a letter addressed to employees on his blog, Sikka said, "I can not constantly defend myself against unrelenting, malicious, personal attacks".

However, shares of Infosys ended sharply lower by almost 10 percent on Friday, wiping out Rs 22,519 crore from its market valuation, after Vishal Sikka, the first non- founder CEO of the company, called it quits.

The stock was the worst performer among the bluechips on both the key indices.

Analysts pointed out that the fall in the company's scrip was the biggest since early 2013. Shares of Infosys today fell as much as 9.6% to close at Rs 923.1 after it tumbled 13.42% to its 52-week low of at Rs 884.4 on BSE in the afternoon trade.

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