Gov­er­nance Con­cerns Re­main: NRN

In­fosys founder in­sists there is no let-up in de­mand that IT giant’s board ad­dress con­cerns

The Economic Times - - Front Page - @times­group.com

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.”

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