Date
22 November 2017
Vishal Sikka has resigned as Infosys CEO after facing criticism from the company's founders over several key decisions. Photo: Reuters
Vishal Sikka has resigned as Infosys CEO after facing criticism from the company's founders over several key decisions. Photo: Reuters

Infosys CEO quits, citing ‘drumbeat of distractions’

Vishal Sikka, the chief executive of Infosys Technologies, India’s second-largest software services firm, has resigned from his post, citing a stream of distractions and malicious personal attacks against him.

“Over the last many months and quarters, we have all been besieged by false, baseless, malicious and increasingly personal attacks,” Sikka said in his resignation letter.

“This continuous drumbeat of distractions and negativity … inhibits our ability to make positive change and stay focused on value creation,” Sikka said in the letter, Reuters reports. 

Sikka did not go into details, but the resignation came after a protracted war of words between Infosys and its founders and some former executives, who were unhappy with various decisions taken by the board.

The founders, who still own 12.75 percent of Infosys, have in the past questioned a pay rise granted to Sikka as well as the size of severance payouts given to some executives, including the company’s former finance head Rajiv Bansal.

Following the news of Sikka’s resignation, Infosys shares tumbled as much as 12 percent on the Bombay Stock Exchange in Friday trading, edging to near the Rs 900 mark.

U.B. Pravin Rao, Infosys’ chief operating officer, was named interim managing director and chief executive.

Rao will report to Sikka, who will take the executive vice chairman role until a permanent CEO takes charge, which should be no later than end-March 2018, according to a regulatory filing from Infosys.

A former member of the executive board at German software firm SAP, Sikka took the top job at Infosys in 2014, becoming the first CEO of the company who was not also one of its founders.

His resignation comes at a time when Infosys, like others in the Indian IT services industry, is battling a slowdown in new deals from western clients and bracing for changes to visa rules in the United States, its top market, that could hike costs and dent profits, Reuters noted.

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RC

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