Business Today
Loading...

I deeply value Narayana Murthy's advice, criticism, says Vishal Sikka

One of the main issues in the ongoing slugfest between the founders and the management is the salary of CEO Vishal Sikka. Infosys' founders, who own 12.75 per cent of the firm, have questioned the pay of Chief Executive Vishal Sikka and severance payouts given to others, including former finance head Rajiv Bansal.

BT Online        Last Updated: February 14, 2017  | 15:21 IST
Infosys: 10 main points that led to the ongoing crisis

The board of directors of IT giant Infosys held a press conference today in Mumbai. CEO Vishal Sikka was also present at the event. Infosys has been locked in an escalating public war of words between its founders and the current management. The founders and ex-members have accused the company's management of many lapses in corporate governance. One of the main issues in the ongoing slugfest between the founders and the management is the salary of CEO Vishal Sikka. Infosys' founders, who own 12.75 per cent of the firm, have questioned the pay of Chief Executive Vishal Sikka and severance payouts given to others, including former finance head Rajiv Bansal. According to media reports, Infy founders have also questioned the appointment of an independent director.

Here are all the updates.

19: 39 pm: Company should use cash to increase returns for shareholders, says Pai.

19: 35 pm: Board needs to be reconstituted in order to bridge the trust deficit between founders and board, says Pai.

19:32 pm: Productivity is still not kicking in for Infosys, says Pai.

19:30 pm: Chairman needs to be honest why Bansal left, make audit report on ex- CFO Bansal public. No disclosure of severance package was made after Bansal left, says Pai.

19:29 pm: This is about governance, not management...the company has to be upfront and not get flustered: Former HR Head, Mohandas Pai tells CNBC TV18 in reaction to Infosys press conference.

19:28 pm: Justifying what has been done is totally wrong: Former HR Head, Mohandas Pai tells CNBC TV18 in reaction to Infosys press conference

19: 24 pm: No, we would not like to have anything spilling to the public...it gets very difficult to manage the situation: Infosys chairman Seshasayee

19:19 pm : There is role for the board, there is role for the management: Infosys chairman Seshasayee.

19:19 pm: We do capital allocation review periodically, says Seshasayee. 

19:15 pm : Pls don't get into issues which are non-value adding,  Seshasayee tells media.

19:14 pm : No, we would not like to have anything spilling to the public...it gets very difficult to manage the situation: Infosys chairman Seshasayee.

19:11 pm: I deeply value Narayana Murthy's advice, says Sikka. 

19:10 pm: There are no differences with Mr Murthy...I have a very heartfelt relationships with him...earlier today, I was talking about Apple Watch with him: Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka.

19:06 pm: Governance is a collective responsibility of the board...There could be perceptions about lack of governance...So long as the board doesn't say you haven't done your job, go home. I will do my job: Infosys chairman Seshasayee

19:02 pm: We are going through the process together...We do get names. Ultimately, the board takes the decisions to get the right kind of skills, says Seshasayee.

19:01 pm: There was no issue of skipping a process in Panaya acquisition, says Infosys chairman Seshasayee.

18:59 pm: We are going through the process together...We do get names. Ultimately, the board takes the decisions to get the right kind of skills: Infosys chairman Seshasayee.

18:58 pm: There would be differences in culture...we have to manage cultural changes within the framework of fundamental values: Infosys chairman Seshasayee.

18:53 pm: In case of Rajiv Bansal, there were issues related to alignment, says Seshasayee.

18:48 pm: I value the advice I get continually from all side: Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka.

18: 47 pm: Our focus is on performance, we have done well in the last two and a half years, says Sikka.

18:46 pm: Vishal Sikka starts addressing the press conference.

18:45 pm: We have founders who have built this organisation with great deal of passion...At the end of the day we are responsible for the shareholders, says Seshasayee.

18:43 pm: This is not about mediation two parties that are fighting. We look at it as passionate expression: Seshasayee

18:41 pm: We continue to engage with all stakeholders and all promoters. We get inputs from them.

18:36 pm: This is a unique company. It's important to have framework of governance. 

18:35 pm: We have an robust internal audit process, another instrument of governance. The financial systems put in place in Infosys are gold standard.

18:33 pm: There is no expenditure which should be committed without value, management should monitor it, says Seshasayee.

18:23 pm: Founders' concerns about Bansal's severance  valid. Suspicion that it was 'hush money' was deeply disturbing: Seshasayee

18:22 pm: There was a business judgement, there was application of mind by the board. Looking behind, that judgement would have been different if circumstances were different: Seshasayee on Bansal's severance pay.

18:13 pm: Seshasayee  talks about Sikka's compensation. Had a resounding shareholder approval for Vishal Sikka's compensation, it is performance linked, he says.

18:10 pm: Mr Prahlad's name for independent directors was proposed by the directors. He has deep understanding of the business. We are extremely pleased to have Mr Prahlad.  Hence his appointment is not a governance issue, says Seshasayee.

18:08 pm: There is no conflict of interest, there is no governance issue, says Seshasayee.

18:07 pm: Last few days, lot of you have been describing this as battle...I don't look at this as battle. Battle happens when there are people with two conflicting interest, says Infosys chairman R Seshasayee.

18:03 pm: Infosys says keen to answer all questions.

18:02 pm: Vishal Sikka arrives for the press conference. 



Here are all the major points related to Infosys and the ongoing tussle:

  • Sikka took over as the CEO of the firm on August 1, 2014. He was awarded a 55 percent hike in compensation in February 2016. His compensation rose to $11 million.
  • In April 2016, Livemint reported that only 23.57 percent of promoter votes were cast in favour of a resolution to reappoint Sikka as MD and CEO till 2021, an extension of two years.
  • Huge amounts of money paid as severance pay to some of the professional executives who have left the organisation is also a major reason for the infighting.  In May 2016, Infosys paid Rs 23.02 crore in salary, severance pay and other benefits to former chief financial officer (CFO) Rajiv Bansal. The step was criticised by proxy advisory firms and analysts for awarding unusually high compensation to an outgoing executive.
  • In September 2016, the founders who too were miffed at the severance amount halted payment of Rs 17.38 crore. Bansal who joined Infosys in October 1999, resigned on 12 October 2015 and joined the cab aggregator Ola as finance head. He resigned from Ola last week.
  • In October 2016, DN Prahlad, a relative of founder NR Narayana Murthy, was appointed an independent director on Infosys board. His appointment was seen by many as promoters-founders placing their man on the board, especially after the Sikka salary hike and Bansal severance payment episodes.
  • In January 2017, Prahlad was inducted into the nomination and remuneration committee (NRC). The panel monitors the nomination process and incentives offered to Infosys' senior-most executives, including the CEO. In the same month, according to reports, Infosys founders NR Narayana Murthy, Kris Gopalakrishnan and Nandan Nilekani wrote to the board expressing their concerns over pay hike to CEO Vishal Sikka and the severance package offered to the two former senior executives.
  • On February 8, 2017, former chief financial officer T V Mohandas Pai said the board should give a detailed answer and not take shelter under "bland" statement that decisions were taken in the interest of the company. "The founders who have built the company and created a value system have raised serious issues. As far as I know, no CFO in India has got a 24-month separation," said the former Infosys board member. Pai was referring to ex-CFO Rajiv Bansal's severance package of Rs 17.38 crore, equalling 24 months of pay.
  • On February 9, 2017, in an interview to The Economic Times, Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy said that such 'generosity' - severance pay - points to utter arrogance towards honest employees, total lack of fiduciary responsibility, and an unbelievable lack of application of mind."
  • On February 10, the firm's third-largest institutional investor, OppenheimerFunds, backed Vishal Sikka and said the founders should accept that the IT firm was publicly listed and was no longer their company. It controls about 2.7 per cent of Infosys shareholding. The holding is valued at over $900 million.
  • Today, Sikka said he has always shared a "heartfelt, warm relationship" with the company's co-founder NR Narayana Murthy. Sikka, speaking at Kotak's Chasing Growth Conference in Mumbai, said the "drama" going on in the media is very "distracting". On the issue, Murthy said today, "Even good people make mistakes." 


Youtube
  • Print

  • COMMENT
BT-Story-Page-B.gif
A    A   A
close