Vishal Sikka’s exit as managing director and chief executive officer of Infosys Ltd. came after twists and turns that stretched across over much of Sikka’s three-year tenure. The first ‘outsider’ chief executive of a company co-founded by a group of seven, including NR Narayana Murthy and Nandan Nilekani, Sikka has faced criticism on issues ranging from his salary to his ability to run the company and even operational decisions like acquisitions and how much he paid for them.
On Friday, Sikka said he had had enough.
“...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,” Sikka wrote in his personal blog while explaining his decision.
One former Infosys board member, who spoke to BloombergQuint on condition of anonymity, described Sikka's exit as ‘more than a Machiavellian plot’.
‘Murthy has been the chief orchestrator along with his two henchmen Bala and Mohan,’ said this board member while adding that the story doesn’t end here. There are many wheels within wheels, added this board member. The board member was referring to V Balakrishnan and Mohandas Pai both of whom were former chief financial officers of the firm.
Sikka's exit comes at a time when the company has been facing allegations of weak corporate governance by Murthy and the other co-founders. Earlier this year, an internal probe was initiated after two anonymous whistleblower complaints were received by the Securities and Exchange Board of India, alleging wrongdoing by the company during the acquisition of Panaya and Skava Systems in 2015.
In June, the company said that no evidence of wrongdoing had been found. However, it did not make the full report public.
The story you will hear is this Murthy-Bala-Mohan versus Sikka-(Jeffrey) Lehman-(R) Seshasayee, said the board member quoted above. But that's not the only narrative, he added while adding that the true story needs to be investigated. R. Seshasayee is the chairman of the Infosys board. Jeffrey Lehman is an independent director.
BloombergQuint has not emailed the company with specific queries. The company issued a press release on Friday morning and is due to address a press conference in the afternoon.
In his notice of resignation to the Board, Dr. Sikka reiterated his belief in the great potential of Infosys, but cited among his reasons for leaving a continuous stream of distractions and disruptions over the recent months and quarters, increasingly personal and negative as of late, as preventing management’s ability to accelerate the Company’s transformation.Infosys Press Release
The board has appointed UB Pravin Rao as the interim CEO following Sikka’s resignation. Sikka will hold the position of executive vice chairman until a new permanent CEO takes charge by March 31, 2018.