Founders are back in the saddle; Sikka quits with immediate effect despite having time till March 2018.
Bengaluru: Moving swiftly to end an ugly standoff that had not only dented the image of Infosys, India’s iconic IT firm, but cast a shadow on its future following a long running spat between founder chairman N.R.N. Murthy and its board of directors over its former CEO Vishal Sikka who stepped down last Friday, Infosys' Board of Directors unanimously approved the appointment of Mr Nandan Nilekani as the non-executive chairman of the Board, effective immediately.
Seen as the best man for the job, given his long years with the iconic IT firm that was founded 36 years ago, Mr Nilekani’s insider knowledge of the company and its vast array of investors and his own tech wizardy made him Mr Murthy’s go-to man in its hour of crisis.
“He has an incredible memory for facts and people, and his warmth and ability to bond with everyone, high and low is a huge plus,” said a former colleague of Mr Nilekani.
The arrival of Mr Nilekani in his old hunting ground would also move the centre of operations back to Bengaluru, insiders said, pointing to the fact that the chairman and CEO, operating out of the US had also been part of the problem.
Stepping down from the board was chairman R. Seshasayee who had added to the bad blood when he blamed Mr Murthy for CEO Vishal Sikka putting in his papers earlier this week.
However, he was all praise for the induction of the iconic Mr Nilekani in his new role, describing him as “the ideal leader for Infosys at this stage in the company’s development. His appointment will allow Infosys to focus on the strategic changes it needs to make in order to capitalize on the attractive opportunities in the years ahead.”
Also stepping down from the Board, effective immediately, are Vishal Sikka, Prof. Jeffrey Lehman and Prof. John Etchemendy and co-chairman Mr. Venkatesan, who will continue on the Board.
Dr. Sikka who had said that he would stay on till March 2018 to find a successor, displayed none of the anger that was evident when he quit, when he said soon after Mr Nilekani’s appointement: “Last week I said that my remaining on the Infosys Board was to primarily enable a smooth transition. In Nandan, we have found an ideal leader to manage this transition.”
“I welcome Nandan’s appointment as chairman to help guide Infosys to new frontiers of success and wish him, Pravin and all Infoscions the very best,” Dr. Sikka added.