Infosys names former chief Nilekani as chair diffusing feud with founders

On the National Stock Exchange, the Infosys scrip closed higher by 2.09% to Rs911.50

Nilekani will work as a non-executive, non-independent director of the company with immediate effect.

Vishal Sikka resigned as CEO last week amid what he said were "baseless/malicious and increasingly personal attacks" - sparking a sell-off and wiping billions of dollars off the firm's market value.

Nandan Nilekani, who was one of the original 7 co-founders of the company, left Infosys in 2009 while he was vice-president to head UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India). "Most importantly, Nilekani is an insider who can stem the fall of the share price as well as the company's image".

In a sudden move, Infosys' first non-founder CEO, Vishal Sikka, resigned last week citing slander by founders.

Only 23.57% of promoter votes are reported to have been cast in favour of reappointing Sikka as managing director and CEO in April 2016.

Nilekani, having worked a lot of time with co-founder N R Narayana Murthy, will also put the latter at ease with regards to the corporate governance issues that he has been raising. The decision was taken in the Board of Directors meeting by Infosys on Thursday.

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Many domestic institutional investors including ICICI Prudential Asset Management, HDFC Asset Management, Birla Sun Life AMC among others, had written to Infosys board to bring former chief executive Nandan Nilekani back to take care of the firm in turbulent times after Vishal Sikka's resignation as MD and CEO.

The letter also stated that the investors feel Nilekani enjoys trust and support of the majority of the stakeholders in Infosys and his elevation to hold the top responsibility will not be opposed by anyone concerned. His chairman has been accepted, the company said in a statement.

Also stepping down from the Board, effective immediately, are Dr. Vishal Sikka, Prof.

Meanwhile, speaking to news agency PTI, Infosys ex-CFO V. Balakrishnan too favoured bringing back Mr Nilekani arguing that he is well connected with customers and had performed well during his tenure with the company.

Nilekani, one of the cofounders of the company, ran the business from 2002 to 2007 and remains highly respected in the technology world. "I think there is very little chance there will be an external candidate", a source inside the company had informed The Indian Express.

Soon after taking over, Nilekani sent out a clear message to anxious investors and shareholders stating that the Board will actively consider a broad-based shareholder consultation process as a critical part of its overall engagement initiatives with all the stakeholders of Infosys.


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