Claiming that keeping quiet would have mortally wounded Infosys in the long-term, co-founder N.R Narayana Murthy said he chose to speak up about the poor practices of the previous board for the benefit of the shareholders and the institution.
“My concern as a shareholder is the poor governance practised by the previous board,” said Murthy in a statement to institutional investors in a conference call on August 29.
Strongly refuting allegations made by the Infosys board of personally attacking former CEO Vishal Sikka, Narayana Murthy said the company’s former chairman R. Seshasayee had lied to the shareholders at its 33rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) on July 24.
“In the AGM, Seshasayee lies about the reason for payments made to the ex-CFO (chief financial officer Rajiv Bansal) claiming it was made in consideration of his (Bansal) long service and to protect the company from its secrets being compromised,” said Murthy.
He pointed out that no previous CFO of the company had such an excessive severance pay clause in their contracts.
"In reality, it was paid to protect to the secrets of the CEO and the board," Murthy said.
"So much for good governance! During every interaction with the board, my colleagues and I have requested them to make public to all shareholders the full truth on this matter. It gets curiouser and curiouser - as Lewis Carroll said in 1865," said Murthy.
Seshasayee, who had been an independent director on the board since January 2011, was appointed non-executive chairman in 2015 after incumbent K.V. Kamath resigned to head the BRICS New Development Bank. Seshasayee resigned from the board on August 24, paving way for the return of co-founder Nandan Nilekani as the non-executive chairman in his place.
Hailing Nilekani as the “first among the hundreds of thousands of professionals who symbolised the byline of Infosys – Powered by Intellect; Driven by Values”, Murthy said 'Acche Din' (good days) would be back at the $10 billion IT behemoth.
"I wish Nandan the best of everything in his effort to bring back 'Acche Din' to Infosys," said Murthy.
Noting that the board’s rejuvenation had begun with the resignation of Seshasayee, Murthy said it was still work in progress for restoring the company's reputation and credibility.
“These actions will bring back the rigour of governance standards at the board. I also reiterate my confidence in the management, which has excellent people with whom I have worked. I know the company is in good hands,” he said.
On August 30, the Infosys scrip opened at Rs 935.10, higher than its previous close of Rs 927.55.