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Nandan Nilekani Reiterates His Role to Bring Stability to Turbulence-hit Infosys

Within hours of being made Chairman of the Board of Infosys, Nilekani and other top executives of Infosys held a conference call with shareholders.


Updated:August 25, 2017, 11:02 PM IST
Nandan Nilekani Reiterates His Role to Bring Stability to Turbulence-hit Infosys
File photo of Nandan Nilekani. (Getty Images)

New Delhi: Nandan Nilekani reiterated in his second public appearance after taking over as Chairman of Infosys that his immediate goal was to bring stability and calm to the company rocked by a public quarrel between the board and the founder.

Addressing a press conference in on Friday evening, after an investor conference call in the morning, Nilekani outlined that apart from steadying the ship, the search for the next CEO for India’s second largest IT services firm, a review of corporate governance standards and a review of the relationship between the board and Narayana Murthy and an examination of the investigative reports into the Panaya acquisition were priorities for him.

Nilekani enjoys the trust of the management, employees, board, and founders. He and other top executives of Infosys held a conference call with domestic shareholders on Friday morning and another such call with foreign investors is scheduled for the evening. Nearly 600 investors logged into the morning call.

“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 Infosys. 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.

On Thursday night, 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 Murthy.

Nilekani said in the press briefing that his role would be to put in place a high-quality CEO and a board to assist the 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 an 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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| Edited by: Puja Menon
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