Sikka quits as Infosys CEO, blames Narayana Murthy for his exit

In what is almost unprecedented, outgoing Infosys CEO (chief executive officer) and MD (managing director) Vishal Sikka along with the company’s board have named and blamed the IT behemoth’s founder and former chairman NR Narayana Murthy as the reason behind the California-based tech boss’ surprise resignation on Friday.

An official communication released to the bourses by the Bengaluru-based Infosys’ board stated, “Mr. Murthy’s continuous assault, including this latest letter, is the primary reason that the CEO, Dr. Vishal Sikka, has resigned despite strong Board support.”

In an e-mail which was leaked to certain sections of the media, Murthy had claimed in a communication to some of his advisors that he was told by at least three independent directors at Infosys that Vishal Sikka was more chief technology officer (CTO) material than chief executive officer (CEO) material.

“Mr. Murthy’s letter contains factual inaccuracies, already-disproved rumours, and statements extracted out of context from his conversations with Board members,” Infosys said.

This was however, not the first time that Murthy had targeted Sikka. The Infosys patriarch has time and again questioned the way Sikka had been running the company including questioning his remuneration which he thought was not justified.

In an investor conference call on Friday, post his resignation Sikka said, “There has been a continuous drumbeat of these allegations…absolutely sickening and everyday you wake up and there is some news story or the other. It has gotten increasingly malicious and personal.”

Murthy had however mentioned in his email that he had “nothing against Dr Vishal Sikka” adding that he, in fact, enjoyed spending time with him,

Sikka said he will continue to serve Infosys till March 31, 2018 or till a “great stable management” is in place. In the meantime, COO (chief operating officer) UB Pravin Rao will act as the interim CEO and MD reporting to Sikka. “We will have a smooth and issue free transition,” Sikka said.

During this period Sikka will focus on strategic relationships, and will make sure the technology development continues at Infosys, the company’s co-chairman Ravi Venkatesan told investors.

Infosys has started the process of looking for a successor to Sikka, and will look at talent both within and outside the company, Venkatesan said. Sikka was the first outside talent, coming in from German multinational software giant SAP to join Infosys in 2014 as CEO and MD.

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