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I’m distressed by what’s happening at Infosys: Narayana Murthy

Source | The Times Of India : By Asha Rai

BENGALURU: “The issue is not with Vishal Sikka but with the quality of governance at the board. It has slipped,” said N R Narayana Murthy, co-founder and first chairman of Infosys, who along with his family, is the single largest shareholder (3.44%) in the company.

There has been intense speculation that the founders are at odds with the company’s board and have red-flagged governance concerns over the last year. TOI, in its editions of February 8 and 9, has carried reports detailing the various flashpoints between the founders on one hand and CEO Sikka and the board on the other.

Speaking to TOI, Murthy said, “When David Kennedy (former legal and compliance head who quit recently) was appointed, it appears nobody went into details and asked, is it normal at Infosys to accept 12 months as severance pay, when the norm for all others is 3 months? It is the work of the chair of the remunerations committee to do that.” When the former CFO Rajiv Bansal left, should he have got 30 months’ severance pay?

That is 10 times the norm at Infosys. What is the real reason behind such an extraordinary payment?” asked Murthy. Bansal, incidentally, on Thursday left Ola, which he had joined after quitting Infosys last year.

Infosys’s single largest shareholder, N R Narayana Murthy , on Thursday told TOI he was concerned at the impact of hefty payouts for some senior executives on employee morale.

“What kind of signal does this send to employees? So many employees at senior, middle-level and junior levels at Infosys are unhappy. I have received over 1,800 emails from various employees expressing their unhappiness at this situation. The common question they have all asked me is, if it is fair that they got only 80% of the variable part of compensation while somebody who has left the company is given 100% variable for the next two years after leaving. These are a subset of the governance issues,” he said.

Murthy said Infosys needs to address such issues which have brought down the morale of employees. He admitted that he was distressed at what’s happening at Infosys. “So many of us ex-Infoscions who have spent decades of our lives building this institution with values and a culture of fairness feel bad,” he added.

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