Infosys blames Murthy for Sikka’s exit, accuses him of media attack threats

BENGALURU: Infosys bluntly blamed its founder Narayana Murthy as the reason for chief executive Vishal Sikka’s departure. “Mr Murthy’s continuous assault, including this latest letter, is the primary reason that the CEO, Dr Vishal Sikka, has resigned despite strong Board support,” the company said in a terse statement

The company said that Murthy’s letter contains factual inaccuracies, already-disproved rumours, and statements extracted out of context from his conversations with the board. “The Board has been engaged in a dialogue with the Founder to resolve his concerns over the course of a year, trying earnestly to find feasible solutions within the boundaries of law and without compromising its independence. These dialogues have unfortunately not been successful.”

Infosys declined to speculate about Murthy’s “motive for carrying out this campaign,” adding that it must set the record straight on the false and misleading charges made by the doyen of the Indian IT industry which are damaging the company.

“Murthy has made repeatedly made inappropriate demands which are inconsistent with his stated desire for stronger governance,” Infosys said

The company said Murthy has always used the threat of media attacks to make the board toe his line which includes demands for certain changes in policy, appointment of specific individuals on the board, operational and management changes among others. “Mr. Murthy wanted the demands to be adhered to without attribution to him.”

“The Board has, in its fiduciary role to consider all shareholder inputs, treated each demand from Mr. Murthy as a suggestion and only acted on suggestions which we believed was in the best interest of the company and declined to act on others. Over time the demands have intensified, which when declined by the Board resulted in the threats of media attacks being carried out,” it added.

Co-chairman Ravi Venkatesan said in a conference call with analysts and investors that some decisions taken by the independent board may “not have gone down well” with the founders adding it has no intention of asking Murthy to play a formal role in the governance of the organisation.

“The company categorically rejects any speculation or allegation of discord between the Infosys Board and Dr Sikka.”

Sikka himself added that the allegations got extremely malicious and personal which slowed down th ability to make changed happen. “Allegations that have been repeatedly proven false and baseless by multiple, independent investigations. But despite this, the attacks continue, and worse still, amplified by the very people from whom we all expected the most steadfast support in this great transformation,” an oblique reference to Murthy.

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