Nilekani Back at Infosys, Vows to Find CEO on Priority

Nandan Nilekani called Narayana Murthy “the father of corporate governance in India”.

2 min read
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Nandan Nilekani returned to lead Infosys Ltd, as co-founders asserted their influence to shake up the board of India’s second largest software services provider, after Vishal Sikka’s exit as managing director and chief executive officer last week.

Addressing an investor call, Nilekani said his primary focus will be to find a CEO for the company. He further expressed gratitude at the ‘universal acceptance’ over his return to the company, reported Firstpost.

He also heaped praise on founder and former chairman Narayana Murthy.

I am a big admirer of Narayana Murthy. I think you can think of him as father of corporate governance in India.

Nilekani, the architect of Aadhaar, will take over as chairman and non-executive director. R Seshasayee, Jeffrey S Lehman, John Etchemendy and Sikka resigned from the board. Ravi Venkatesan stepped down as co-chairman but will continue as an independent director.

This brings back a founder on the board Infosys after a gap of three years that coincided with Sikka’s term. The billionaire founders together own 12.75 percent of Infosys and equivalent shareholding rights.


Nilekani did not take sides even as a public spat raged for months between Murthy and the board over Sikka’s pay, the acquisition of Israeli firm Panaya and severance pay for former Chief Financial Officer Rajiv Bansal. His return will allow the company to focus on challenges ranging from automation to visa curbs in the US, the software exporter’s largest market.

The information technology bellwether’s stock had tumbled as much as 15 percent in just two trading sessions after Sikka’s exit even as the company announced a Rs 13,000 crore share buyback plan.

Nilekani, who co-founded the information technology giant with Murthy and five others 36 years ago, is likely to mainly look at setting up a new management.

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

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

Meanwhile, Murthy who was supposed to hold an investor call on Wednesday, postponed it citing ill health.

(with inputs from BloombergQuint)

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Topics:  Infosys   Nandan Nilekani 

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