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Infosys Board to focus on bringing stability: Nilekani (Lead)

Bengaluru, Aug 25 (IANS) The Board of global software major Infosys Ltd would focus on bringing complete stability to the company, said new Chairman Nandan Nilekani on Friday.

“The Board is focused on bringing complete stability to the company. It has also tasked its Committee of Directors to work with the CEO and the management to review and refresh the company’s strategy by October,” he said at a news conference here a day after he returned to the company as its non-Executive Chairman.

Noting that in recent days, there was discussion of the relationship between the Board and company Founder N.R. Narayana Murthy, who established a culture of adhering to high corporate governance standards, Nilekani, who was a co-founder, said the Board believed “it was unfortunate that various differences of opinion have arisen” between them.

“The Board wishes to express that it was not its intention to cause Murthy or any other affected person any personal distress or anguish while stating its point of view,” he reiterated.

On investigations into the anonymous allegations on the conduct of prior management which concluded that there was no wrongdoing, Nilekani said he would get a full briefing and an appropriate course of action would be decided.

Asserting that the Board took the company’s reputation for high corporate governance standards with utmost seriousness, he said it had decided to engage in broad-based shareholder consultations to determine what it could do to ensure adherence to these.

The Board also approved appointment of executive recruitment firm Egon Zehnder to work with its Nominations and Remunerations Committee, headed by Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, to identify the right candidate for the next CEO and Managing Director. The Committee will also deliberate on the Board’s long-term governance structure and present its recommendations at the Board meeting in October.

Nilekani also said the Board has set up a committee headed by Directors Ravi Venkatesan and D.N. Prahalad to review the business strategy and the $20 billion revenue target by 2020 set by former CEO Vishal Sikka.

He also said it would also be his priority is to make sure the “relationship between the Board and Murthy is harmonious and beneficial because I believe Murthy is an iconic leader and father of corporate governance in India. He is a great visionary who built the company on highest values, integrity and transparency”.

The Board announced that Prahlad would be the Chairman of company’s subsidiary EdgeVerve Ltd with immediate effect.

Nilekani, 62, stepped into the company campus on the city’s outskirts after eight years on Thursday when the Board unanimously invited him to join and steer it out of tumultuous times.

“I have met the Board for the first time on Thursday and then today (Friday)… my priority is to make sure the Board and the employees are on the same page. I have also met the Board members one-on-one and spoke to the some of the employees,” he told reporters after chairing the second Board meeting.

Clarifying he was there because the Board had unanimously invited him to come back, Nilekani said he was “representing everybody, including promoters, shareholders, Board, employees, clients and other stakeholders” with the goal of bringing stability to the company and taking it forward.

Reiterating that he planned to be there as long as it was necessary and not beyond, he said he had set of tasks to accomplish – hiring the next CEO, reconstituting the Board and stabilising its business.

Declining to share details on who approached him first for coming back, Nilekani said the answer was best left for a novel or a book later.

“I am back here because there was nobody else. I was also requested by the co-founders, including Murthy, former employees and the country’s top 12 mutual fund investors,” he said.

On his immediate goals, Nilekani said he would strive to build consensus to take the company forward.

“With the new Board meeting again, the succession or transition is completed. Selection of new CEO is my top priority. I have come here to take stock and help everybody. I have had a record of doing things successfully,” he said.

On Murthy’s demand to make public the investigation report on acquisition of the Israeli software firm Panaya for $200 million in February 2015, Nilekani said he was committed to reviewing the investigations with an unbiased mind.

–IANS
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