Nandan Nilekani likely to return as Infosys Non Executive Chairman

Leigh Mccormick
August 25, 2017

"It's a sad thing that a great company is being torn apart by an ineffective Board", he said.

Nandan Nilekani was appointed as the Chairman of Infosys on Thursday. The company's share price advanced by more than 2 percent after CFO V Balakrishnan and 12 investors expressed their wish to have Nilekani back on board to conduct a "clean up".

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. The Infosys board issued a stinging statement blaming co-founder N R Narayana Murthy for the CEO's resignation.

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Though the 70-year-old Murthy declined to respond to the company's Board charge that his continuous attacks led to Sikka's exit, he chose to explain his stand on the tussle to restore investors' confidence in the iconic IT major.

Nilekani had taken as CEO from NR Narayana Murthy in March 2002 and passed on the reins to his successor Kris Gopalakrishnan, who took over as CEO in 2007.

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The board of Indian IT services company Infosys Ltd appointed former chief Nandan Nilekani as chairman on Thursday, as it sought to end a row with founder executives that prompted its CEO to step down last week. Sikka is not like the former CEOs that he is not one of its founders as he spends more time in United States from where the company acquires the majority of its proceeds.

Chairman R Seshasayee, Sikka, who was serving as executive vice-chairman after exit as CEO, and two other directors also resigned as part of the board shake-up.

As soon as the news of Nilekani mediating and returning to the board of the IT major broke, the sentiment at the Dalal Street for the scrips of India's second largest IT company completely changed from negative to positive.

Further, all equity awards that vested during his employment with Infosys will remain as vested as per the terms of the equity plan and award agreement. Nilekani, sources said, has the credibility internally and externally to salvage the situation that Infosys today finds itself in.

Mr. Nilekani added, "I am happy to return to Infosys, now in the role of non-executive chairman, and look forward to working with my colleagues on the Board and in executive management on the business opportunities we see before us and delivering benefits to our clients, shareholders, employees and communities".

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