My actions have never been for personal gain: Murthy
Infosys co-founder says internal probe failed to address issue of poor governance Swedish home furnishing major scouts for more land
Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy on Tuesday fired a fresh salvo at former board members, including former Chairman R Seshasayee, claiming that several statements made by the latter and some of the others were inconsistent.
“Contrary to the views of many, my actions always keep in mind the long-term interests of all shareholders. It has never been and never will be for my individual or personal gain,” Murthy said in a statement which was released to the press after he held an investors’ call late evening.
He listed the firm’s various achievements when the founders had been running the operations of Infosys. He said his concern as a shareholder was regarding the poor governance practised by the previous board. “This point has been missed in the entire commentary of this episode and in the ‘Summary Finding Statement’ published by the company on June 23, 2017.” He narrated how there were several inconsistencies in the statement made by Seshasayee regarding the severance pay given to former CFO Rajiv Bansal.
Furthermore, according to media reports earlier this year, the board had not recorded the minutes of the severance to the former CFO at the time the decision was taken. “This concern was dismissed by the former Chairman as a mere “housekeeping” matter. So much for good governance!”
Murthy said that during every interaction with the board, his colleagues and he had consistently requested them to make public to all shareholders the full truth on this matter.
On February 12, a whistleblower complaint appeared in the media. It questioned, in detail, the events surrounding the severance payment made to the former CFO with alleged actions of the main actors — Chair of the board, CEO, COO, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Bansal. “To me, what was most worrisome was the failure of governance at Infosys in this episode as alleged by the whistle-blower,” Murthy added.
‘Gaps’ in report
On June 23, the board published a ‘Summary Finding Statement’ on the company website following the conclusion of an independent investigation into the allegations made by the whistle-blower.
The statement exonerates the management from allegations of benefiting directly from Panaya and other acquisitions (The company had acquired Israeli firm Panaya for $200 million in 2015). However, the statement does not mention whether the investigation addressed the allegations of the whistle-blower regarding the serious governance deficits of the board and the CEO in the matter of the severance agreement with the former CFO.
“Like any other concerned and logical shareholder of the company, my hope was that the detailed report would contain a full rebuttal of the claims of the whistle-blower... I was also hoping that the full report would point out gaps in governance and suggest corrective actions. These are the only reasons why I asked for the full report to be disclosed,” Murthy said.
He said he was very happy with the appointment of Nilekani as the Non-Executive Chairman of Infosys. “I am confident Nandan will determine whether the members of the current board — who were involved in the events alleged by the whistle-blower — exercised their proper and expected role in governance, and that he will take appropriate corrective actions.” Swedish home furnishing major IKEA is set to open its flagship store in India by Spring 2018, while it scouts for more land parcels in select cities.
Work on the ₹1,000-crore facility located in the IT hub of Hyderabad, has gathered pace, so has the firm’s efforts to step up sourcing from India.
Taking media persons through IKEA’s journey in India and the upcoming store site, Patrik Antoni, Deputy Country Manager, IKEA India, said: “Apart from Hyderabad, we have acquired land in Mumbai and Bengaluru, and are scouting for land in Delhi-NCR, Pune, Ahmedabad, Surat and Kolkata. While the Hyderabad store will be ready by Spring next year, work on the Mumbai project will commence in November.”
IKEA is in the process of setting up a 250-seater contact centre in Hyderabad by November. Simultaneously, it is working to set up the country’s first experience zone in Forum Mall here, he said.
“When the store gets launched, out of the more than 10,000 items in it, more than 800 will be India-specific. We will also have a 1,000-seater restaurant, our biggest in any IKEA store across the world,” said John Achillea, Managing Director, IKEA Telangana.
“We have embarked on a recruitment drive for the store and expect to induct about 800 people for the Hyderabad store in a phased manner.
“The restaurant will serve both Swedish and Indian dishes, including the meat and veggie balls popular among IKEA store visitors worldwide. To provide the visitors with the authentic local touch, IKEA also plans to serve biryani and other Indian
Patrik Antoni, Deputy Country Manager, IKEA India, and John Achillea, MD, IKEA Telangana, in Hyderabad
NR Narayana Murthy