Dreamed of Being the CEO of Infosys: Vishal Sikka on Resignation

Sikka was earning $11 million a year but will now get $1 as the Executive Vice Chairman of Infosys.

3 min read
Dreamed of Being the CEO of Infosys: Vishal Sikka on Resignation

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Vishal Sikka resigned as the chief executive officer and managing director of Infosys Ltd on 18 August.

The board of the country’s second-largest software services company accepted the resignation of Sikka with immediate effect. He has been appointed the executive vice-chairman of the company. Watch the Infosys press conference on the development here:

In a statement, Infosys said that UB Pravin Rao, the company’s chief operating officer, will step in as the interim CEO and MD.

The succession plan for appointment of a new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer has been operationalised by the Board and a search for the same has commenced.

Sikka was earning $11 million a year, but will now be earning $1 as Executive Vice Chairman.


Distractions and Malice the Reasons for Resignation

In his resignation letter, which he also posted on his blog, Sikka cited distractions and the undermining of the good work being done as among the reasons for his stepping down as the Infosys CEO.

“After much contemplation I have decided to leave because the distractions, the very public noise around us, have created an untenable atmosphere. I deeply believe in creating value in an atmosphere of freedom, trust and empowerment,” he wrote.

For days, indeed weeks, this decision has weighed on me... It is clear to me that despite our successes over the last three years, and the powerful seeds of innovation that we have sown, I cannot carry out my job as CEO and continue to create value, while also constantly defending against unrelenting, baseless/malicious and increasingly personal attacks. 

"I deeply believe in creating value in an atmosphere of freedom, trust and empowerment. Life is too short to engage in battles of opinions in the public, these add no value, take critical time and focus away from the business, and indeed add more to the noise, to the eardrum buzz, as I wrote to you a few months ago," he wrote.


In an email to some advisors, Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy claimed that he was told by at least three independent sources that Sikka was more suited to be the Chief Technical Officer, as opposed to the Chief Executive Officer, as Livemint reports.

The email from Murthy reads as follows:

All that I hear from at least three independent directors, including Mr Ravi Venkatesan (co-chairman), are complaints about Dr Sikka. They have told me umpteen times that Dr Sikka is not a CEO material but CTO material. This is the view of at least three members of the board, and not my view since I have not seen him operate from the vantage point of an Infosys board member.

Murthy didn’t name the other two directors who didn’t back Sikka as the CEO since he took that position in 2014.

“I have nothing against Dr Vishal Sikka. I enjoy spending time with him. I have never commented about his strategy or its execution... My problem is with governance at Infosys. I believe that the fault lies with the current board. If the board had not embraced inaction and had ensured proper governance then they could have created checks and balances required in any well-run company. That, alas, does not exist today,” NR Narayana Murthy wrote in the email.

Sensex fell by over 200 points, with Infosys down over 4 percent after Sikka's resignation.

(With inputs from BloombergQuint)


“Dreamed of Being Infosys’ CEO”

At the press conference held on Friday, Vishal Sikka said that Infosys has been more than a company to him.

I grew up looking up to Infosys and dreamed of being the CEO someday...I am proud of the work we have done and the results the ream has achieved since 2014.

He stated that with all the work being done, constant clamour and allegations over issues like David Kennedy, Rajiv Bansal’s remuneration made it difficult to not take those issues personally.

I am here till 31 March 2018 to make sure the team is established and that business doesn’t suffer...Will focus on strategy and key client relationships and make sure a smooth transition happens till they find a new CEO and MD.

Infosys founder Narayana Murthy said that he was anguished by the allegations leveled against him and the stepping down of Vishal Sikka.

Anguished by allegations, tone and tenor of statements by Infosys board. It is below my dignity to respond to baseless insinuations...Some shareholders say it’s hard to believe report by a set of lawyers hired by the accused and giving clean chit to the accused.

Murthy said that he will respond to allegations in the “right manner, right forum and at an appropriate time.”

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Topics:  Sensex   Infosys   Vishal Sikka 

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