MUMBAI: Sikka has left, if not with a bang, at least without financially wrecking the firm. And Infy’s first brush with an outsider CEO has proved disastrous.
Murthy’s criticism of the Board, for failing to keep checks and balances, may make him appear like a petulant founder unwilling to let go. But if the petty remarks (like Sikka using self-paid chartered planes) are ignored, the alleged improprieties seem more serious than imagined.
Chief among them is the $200-milion Panaya deal that Sikka’s team pulled off. He also questioned the generous severance packages made to former CFO Rajiv Bansal and former general counsel David Kennedy.
Murthy’s angst is not without a reason. While Infosys said investigations it instituted unequivocally found the complaints false with no evidence of wrongdoing, it refused to make the findings public. In its recent 20-F filing, Infy stressed distractions from ‘activist shareholders’ as a possible risk, but didn’t find it necessary to enclose the full report.
Murthy’s latest salvo on Friday, is equally damning, questioning the authenticity of the investigation. “...A report produced by a set of lawyers hired by a set of accused, giving a clean chit to the accused, and the accused refusing to disclose why they got a clean chit. They say that this is not the way an impartial and objective investigation should be held.”
In 2003, it was based on Murthy Committee’s recommendations that Sebi revised governance norms under Clause 49. If corporate governance concerns are real, it’s intriguing why Murthy hasn’t taken it up with the market regulators. The charges leveled are serious and out in the public. Still, regulators are yet to knock on Infy’s doors seeking clarity.