Comeback Kid Nandan Nilekani Calms Investors, Says Infosys CEO Hunt Will be Global
Within hours of being made Chairman of the Board of Infosys, Nilekani and other top executives of Infosys held a conference call with shareholders.
File photo of Nandan Nilekani. (Getty Images)
New Delhi: Nandan Nilekani, the person who enjoys the trust of the management, employees, board and founders, is back at the helm of Infosys to soothe frayed nerves and steady the ship.
Within hours of being made Chairman of the Board of Infosys, Nilekani and other top executives of Infosys held a conference call with shareholders. Nearly 600 investors logged into the conference call in which Nilekani said that he had come in to provide stability and align the interests of the company to shareholders and look for a new CEO.
“I have come back to Infosys as a person who enjoys the confidence of the founders, board, customers, shareholders and employees,” Nilekani said during the course of the call. “I have the full support of Narayana Murthy and expect to make some quick decisions in the next few days,” he added.
It was exactly a week ago that Vishal Sikka resigned as the CEO of India’s second largest software services firm. Since then a growing rift between the founder Narayana Murthy and the board of directors has jangled nerves as shareholder wealth of $4.5 billion eroded amidst a selloff of Infosys stock. Questions were also raised about corporate governance and the role of the founder and the board.
Last night in a statement to the exchanges the company announced that Nilekani, who left in 2009, was returning as a non independent director and chairman of the board. The company also announced sweeping changes to the board of directors, with the resignations of R. Seshasayee as Chairman and Ravi Venkatesan as co-Chairman. Both were involved in the public spat with Narayana Murthy.
Nilekani told the investors on the call that his role would be to put in place a high quality CEO and a board to assist said CEO. Stating that it is too premature for him to comment on Infosys' strategy and earnings, the architect of Aadhaar said he is committed to ensuring the highest standards of corporate governance are adhered to at Infosys.
"I will ensure there are no discordant voices in the company and everyone is on the same page," he asserted. Nilekani said as the non-executive Chairman, his role will be oversight, governance and functioning and to help with the CEO search that will look for internal and external candidates as well as Infosys "alumni". He stressed that he will stay as long as necessary, but declined to put a timeline to his latest stint.
He said that Kiran Mazumdar Shaw would be heading the search for a new CEO.
Infosys will hold another press conference and investor call later in the day.
(With PTI inputs)
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