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The Infosys Saga: When Narayana Murthy and Vishal Sikka Locked Horns

Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy had publicly criticised the company's governance on several occasions.

Updated:August 18, 2017, 6:42 PM IST
The Infosys Saga: When Narayana Murthy and Vishal Sikka Locked Horns
Vishal Sikka and Narayana Murthy have been at loggerheads for quite some time.
New Delhi: Days before Vishal Sikka quit as Infosys MD & CEO, co-founder Narayana Murthy had claimed in an email that he had been told by independent directors that Sikka was more suited as a Chief Technology Officer than Chief Executive Officer.

Here’s a look at the times when the two giants clashed:

August 2014: Infosys board appoints Vishal Sikka as MD & CEO for 5 years.

February 2016: Disagreements between the co-founders and Infosys board start. Trouble erupts after Infosys board decides to give Sikka a 55% pay hike to $11 million.

April 2016: Only 23.57% of promoter votes in favour of a resolution reappointing Sikka as MD & CEO with revised pay.

Infosys board’s decision to approve a Rs17.38 crore severance pay to its former CFO, Rajiv Bansal, further upsets co-founders.

June 2016: Murthy suggests former Infosys employee D N Prahlad (also a relative of Murthy) be inducted on the board.

September 2016: Infosys stops payment of severance package to ex-CFO Rajiv Bansal.

October 2016: Infosys inducts D N Prahlad as an independent director.

January-February 2017: Infosys founder-promoters, led by N.R. Narayana Murthy and the company’s board (led by Ravi Seshasayee), and management, led by Sikka, lock horns over functioning of the IT major.

Murthy starts publicly critcising Infosys for lapses in corporate governance.

Murthy criticises Infosys board for failing to uphold the IT major’s famed governance standards and not creating “checks and balances required in any well-run company”.




Law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas appointed to act as a bridge between the founder-promoters and the board.

April 2017: Independent director Ravi Venkatesan appointed as Infosys co-chairman.

April 13: Ravi Venkatesan reveals Sikka’s salary totaled $6.8 million in the year ended 31 March, lower than the agreed upon $11 million.

July 8: Murthy writes a letter, asking Infosys board to make reports of all its investigations public.

Murthy asks Infosys to make Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher report public.

Murthy questions why executives such as Ritika Suri quit Infosys in June soon after the global law firm gave a clean chit.

Suri was a member of the Infosys team that acquired Israeli firm Panaya.

Suri, a former colleague of Sikka at SAP, was head of corporate development and ventures, when the Panaya deal was signed in April 2015.

Murthy’s posers for Infosys board: No employee or a relative of Infosys employee benefited from its decision to spend $200 million to buy Panaya in February 2015.

Murthy also asked why Infosys sacked former general counsel David Kennedy, and why the company handed out $868,250 in severance pay to him.

July 14: Venkatesan responds to Murthy, reiterating that the Panaya probe had found no evidence of wrongdoing by the company.

Venkatesan says Infosys looked into questionable severance payout made to former CFO Rajiv Bansal, expenses incurred by Sikka and whistleblower complaints to market regulators Sebi and the US Securities and Exchange Commission over alleged improprieties in the $200-million acquisition of Israeli firm Panaya.

August 9: Murthy claims in an email that at least 3 independent directors of Infosys told him that Sikka was more suited for CTO’s job than CEO.

August 18: Sikka resigns as MD & CEO; UB Pravin Rao named interim CEO.
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