Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka resigns LIVE updates: Ex-chief says 'continuous noise' was taking a toll on him

In the long-running war of words with Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy, Vishal Sikka has thrown in the towel and has resigned as CEO of Infosys. However, he continues to be executive vice-chairman. UB Pravin Rao has been appointed as interim MD.

File image of Vishal Sikka. Reuters

Company secretary AGS Manikantha confirmed the development in a letter to stock exchanges, The Indian Express reported.

In a press release, Infosys said: “This is to inform you that the Board of Directors of Infosys Limited (the ‘Company’) has at its meeting today accepted the resignation of Dr Vishal Sikka as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Company with immediate effect…appointed Mr UB Pravin Rao as the Interim-Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.”

In a short profile of Rao attached with the press release, Infosys said that Rao “has over 30 years of experience. Since joining Infosys in 1986, he has held a number of senior leadership roles including Head of Infrastructure Management Services, Delivery Head for Europe, and Head of Retail, Consumer Packaged Goods, Logistics and Life Sciences. Pravin holds a degree in electrical engineering from Bangalore University, India.”

Earlier this month, Narayana Murthy had sparked a fresh row asking the management to make public a report of the audit it had commissioned on the acquisition of Israeli firm Panaya and other allegations about corporate governance at the country’s second largest software exporter.

However, the company has rejected the demand, the report said. The internal audit was conducted by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, a global consultancy firm. Infosys has made public only the summary of the findings.

Murthy has written to the Infosys board asking why senior executives such as Ritika Suri quit the company soon after the report gave a clean chit. Suri, who led the acquisition of Israeli automation technology firm Panaya for Infosys, was based out of the US. She quit the company on by mid-July.

A former executive at SAP, Suri was brought into Infosys by CEO Vishal Sikka in September 2014. She was later elevated as the EVP (Corporate Development and Ventures).

Infosys announced buying the Israeli automation technology company for $200 million or Rs 1,250 crore in cash in February 2015.

Apart from Suri, Anirban Dey (global head and chief business officer of Edge products) and Yusuf Bashir (MD of Infosys Innovation Fund) also quit the company over the last few months.

With inputs from agencies

Narayana Murthy breaks silence, says he is anguished by allegations

CNBC-TV18 reported that Infosys founder Narayana Murthy said that he was anguished by the allegations, tone and tenor the statements made against him.

“I voluntarily left board in 2014. My concern was the deteriorating standard of corporate governance,” he said.

“It is below my dignity to respond to such baseless insinuations. I will reply to allegations at an appropriate time,” CNBC-TV18 further quoted him as saying.

“I voluntarily left the board in 2014 and am not seeking any money, position for children or power,” Murthy said.

Narayana Murthy’s continuous assault is the primary reason that Vishal Sikka resigned: Infosys Board of Directors

In a press release, the Infosys Board of Directors has made it clear that “Mr. Murthy’s continuous assault…is the primary reason that the CEO, Dr. Vishal Sikka, has resigned despite strong Board support.”

The Board also said that the latest letter authored by Murthy “attacking the integrity of the Board and Management of the Company alleging falling corporate governance standards” had factual inaccuracies, false rumours and statements taken out of context.

The Board also said that it will not be “distracted by this misguided campaign by Mr. Murthy and will continue to adhere to the highest international standards of corporate governance”.

Evident that Vishal blossomed into a high-performing CEO: Infosys co-chairman

“It is evident that Vishal has blossomed into a high-performing CEO. When things don’t go right, we tend to blame the leader. When things go right, the leader should get recognition,” Ravi Venkatesan, Infosys co-chairman, said.

“I have no interest in the job of CEO now,” Venkatesan added. “The main issue is: Will Infosys transform itself ahead of everybody else?”

Continuous noise over the same things was taking a toll on the company and me: Vishal Sikka

“Our cash generation has been extraordinary,” Sikka said. “I signed up for the technological change that needs to be done,” he added.

“I got to the point that was difficult to deal with. There was continuous noise about the same things over and over again,” Sikka said. “At some point, you realise that this was taking a heavy toll on the company and also personally,” he added.

“I have no plans. I have no thought about what I’m going to do next. I’m here till 31 March of next year or sooner till we find the next head,” Sikka further said.

The day has been like a blur: Vishal Sikka

“The day has been like a blur. It is, in many ways, a sad. But I hope this will clarify and improve things,” Vishal Sikka said.

“Infosys is more than a company. It is an iconic institution,” he said. “It was a dream to be the CEO of Infosys,” he added.

“When I started, both Infosys and the IT industry were in a challenging situation. But I’m really proud of the results we have achieved,” Sikka said.