Institutional Investors Want Nandan Nilekani Back on Infosys Board

If the company agrees to bring back Nilekani, a co-founder would return to the board after nearly three years.

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At least a dozen large institutional shareholders of Infosys Ltd have urged the company's board to rope in co-founder Nandan Nilekani to restore confidence amid uncertainty stemming from Vishal Sikka’s exit as the chief executive officer.

Appointing Nilekani in a suitable position on the board can help restore confidence and resolve contentious issues that the company faces, a letter authored by a dozen fund managers said to the board. Four of the authors confirmed this to BloombergQuint while requesting anonymity.

Nilekani, the managing director and chief executive officer at Infosys from 2002 to till 2007, enjoys the confidence of customers, shareholders and employees, the letter said.


The investors, including mutual funds and insurers, raised concerns over the public bickering between the board and co-founder NR Narayana Murthy, according to the letter.

Responding to BloombergQuint's emailed queries, Infosys said it will not comment on “speculation and rumours”.

If the company agrees to bring back Nilekani, a co-founder would return to the board after nearly three years since Murthy stepped down from his role as executive chairman. Sikka, who had joined from Germany’s SAP AG, has been the only non-promoter to head India’s second largest software services provider.

The chorus for Nilekani’s return has been growing after Sikka quit.

The board of directors of Infosys must persuade Nilekani to join as non-executive chairman to bring back confidence, proxy advisory firm Institutional Investor Advisory Services had said in a note earlier. “He is possibly the best candidate who can be found globally.”


Infosys has seen a public spat over the past few months between the board and Murthy over issues ranging from Sikka’s pay to acquisition of Israeli firm Panaya. In fact, the board blamed his “continuous assault” and “campaign against the board” for Sikka’s resignation. Sikka himself had said that he has been besieged with increasingly personal attacks over the last few months, inhibiting both his and the company’s ability to make a positive change.

Murthy had responded by saying that he would reply in an appropriate manner.

Nilekani has so far offered no public comment on the on-going spat at Infosys or the resignation of Sikka. He has yet not responded to BloombergQuint's requests for a comment on the current situation and whether he would be inclined to return to the company.

(This story was first published on BloombergQuint. It has been republished with permission.)

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Topics:  Infosys   Vishal Sikka 

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