INFOSYS TURMOIL

Murthy will keep questioning Infosys board: experts

INDIA-BUSINESS-INFOSYS Narayana Murthy’s request to make an inquiry report public was recently rejected by Infosys | AFP (File photo)

Infosys' rejection of its founder N.R. Narayana Murthy’s request to make an inquiry report public (on the acquisition of the Israeli firm Panaya based on a whistle blower's allegations) may not go down well with the latter. He may keep questioning the Infosys board, time and again in the future.

Experts feel that Murthy is not an ordinary shareholder, and if all was well with the probe and the report, then why the company is shying away from making the report public. Some experts also feel that Infosys did not heed Murthy’s request because, like him, each and every shareholder might start questioning the company and will demand each and every acquisition or other deals be made public.

There are other experts who say that current CEO and MD Vishal Sikka is least bothered about some high level exits at the company which have happened in the near past. He had stated that the exits are not much of a concern for the company and the attrition is far lower than other firms. Of late, Infosys has seen senior management exits in the form of Sandeep Dadlani, its Americas head, Yusuf Bashir, MD of Infosys Innovation Fund and Ritika Suri, executive vice president.

“If all is well with the report, why doesn’t the company heed Murthy’s request and make it public?” asks Alok Shende of Mumbai-based Ascentius Consulting. “One cannot just refuse a request outright from a person of Murthy’s stature. I agree that he is a minority shareholder, but one should not forget that he was the person who had started the company from scratch. Also, when everything is clean, so be it. Let people know that Infosys is high on corporate governance and the probe report is transparent and the whistle blower's allegations were false.”

“With Sikka shrugging off concerns about senior management employee exits, he has shown very immature behaviour on his part as Infosys has had some good leaders in the past. If senior management people keep leaving the company at regular intervals, it will create a leadership vacuum in the long run,” Shende added.

Experts such as Kris Lakshmikanth, the founder of the recruitment firm Head Hunters India, feel that no company usually makes such reports public because if it heeds to one single request then each and every shareholder will start making similar requests. “Generally, companies such as Infosys are not answerable to the public, so they do not make their reports public. However, I feel that Murthy has already created an issue out of the report and will keep questioning the company in the future as well. I also feel that Sikka is in a very shaky position as the company has not performed well and is lagging behind companies such as Cognizant and HCL in terms of performance. His capability as CEO will be questioned time and again. The performance of the company in the next two or three quarters will determine the future of Sikka at Infosys,” said Lakshmikanth. 

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