Governance Concerns Remain: NRN
Infosys founder insists there is no let-up in demand that IT giant’s board address concerns
Bengaluru: Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy clarified there is no let-up in his demand that the board of India’s second-largest software company satisfactorily address the issues of poor corporate governance pinpointed by him last week, striking a firm stance in what looks set to be a fractious corporate battle. “No, I have not withdrawn my concern,” Murthy told ET on Monday after reports put out by news agencies indicated he had called off his objections in a sign of reconciliation.
Murthy’s concerns relate to what he termed as ‘hush money’ paid to two former employees in the form of hefty severance payouts, and the steep fall in governance standards at the Bengaluru-based company since June 2015 (when R Seshasayee took over as the chairman of the board).
“They (issues and concerns) have to be addressed properly by the board, and full transparency should be given and people responsible should become accountable,” said Murthy, 70, who cofounded the now-$10-billion firm in 1981.
“The positive tweet by one of the directors is encouraging,” Murthy told ET, in a reference to independent board member Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw’s comment on microblogging site Twitter suggesting that the issue of severance pay to former CFO Rajiv Bansal could have been handled better.
“It could have been moderated in hindsight,” wrote MazumdarShaw in response to a tweet.
At a press conference on Monday, Seshasayee said a new severance package plan has been put in place to ensure there are “no more Rajiv Bansals”.
“You have a process, you deal with that dissent. At the end of the day you take a decision and everyone signs on to that decision. What is the deal in that?” Seshasayee said. In an interview to ET published last Friday, Murthy demanded a review of the role played by the special committee on senior management compensation and severance pay, as well as the board of the company with regard to high severance payouts. “Such payments raise doubts whether the company is using such payments as hush money to hide something,” he had said in the interview.
Vishal Sikka also said that money wasn’t his main driver that keeps him going at Infosys. “The endeavour here is take an engineer and turn him into an innovator. This is the only future. It is not about the money or the CEO-ship or any of that.”