Housekeeping in Times of Tremors
Many fear promotions will be halted, others consider likely impact on their positions
Neha Alawadhi & Jochelle Mendonca
New Delhi | Bengaluru: Amid the crisis unfolding at India’s second-largest software services exporter, Infosys employees are most focussed on their own limited pay hikes, with CEO Vishal Sikka’s 55% pay rise that’s in the spotlight causing some heartburn.
The bigger worry for senior employees is about the potential impact to their positions in the company in the event of a management change.
ET spoke with several present and former Infosys employees to get a sense of how they see the ongoing controversy around issues of corporate governance unfolding. Infosys cofounder NR Narayana Murthy and other promoters have made public their discontent with the company’s management and called for an overhaul of its board. While the employees seem rather disinterested in the larger battle, there was ample heartburn about Sikka’s compensation that amounts to about $11 million a year from this year. Even at his 2016 salary of about $7.08 million, Sikka had the highest ratio of CEO compensation to median employee remuneration— 935.38 times the median salary — among the top three Indian IT companies.
“People are happy with Vishal Sikka but not with his salary,” said a Pune-based employee. “Infosys hasn’t raised visa requests for the system engineers and senior system engineers. There is a general sense that promotions will be halted or delayed by using these governance issues and results as an excuse.”
A Bengaluru-based senior employee said more worried conversations were happening at the level of business unit heads. “After Sikka came in, the environment changed and some people used to the traditional way of functioning did not like things changing. Right now, the senior employees considered close to Sikka are seemingly in a huddle, worried about any possible top-level changes,” she said.
Coca-Cola’s assessment of the impact of currency swap comes about four months after the Indian government withdrew bills of 500 and 1,000 rupee denominations overnight to help curb counterfeiting and expansion of a parallel economy that the state argues begins with cash as the primary store of value. The withdrawal of these bills hurt sales of goods and services across sectors in the October-December quarter in a country where 98% of consumer transactions were done in cash. “Things we saw occur in the quar- ter and responded to included, for instance, India, where demonetisation impacted the whole CPG (consumer products and goods) landscape. Our system responded quickly by facilitating digital payments, extending credit to mitigate destocking, and increasing our emphasis on modern trade,” said the CEO-designate. In 2016, the maker of Coke and Sprite fizzy drinks and Minute Maid juices, reported 3% organic revenue growth. Headwinds facing Coca-Cola include shifting consumer tastes and governments plans to tax sugary drinks. “I think what we need to see is some stabiliastion, and we will be able to then come back and execute our game plan. So I don't think that's particularly about resetting everything we do in India. I think it’s about working through the effects of this one-off demonetisation,” Quincey added.
Coca-Cola chief financial officer and executive VP Kathy Waller told analysts and investors that some of the problems may take time to resolve. “For example, in India, the tough operating environment stemming from demonetisation is likely to persist at the start of the year before gradually recovering,” she said.