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'Keeping Quiet Would've Mortally Wounded Infosys,' Says Narayana Murthy

NDTV logo NDTV 30-08-2017 NDTV Profit Team

Nandan Nilekani will bring back Acche Din (good days) for Infosys, co-founder NR Narayana Murthy asserted on Tuesday, reiterating that his main concern with the previous board at the IT major was what he called a failure of governance and that "keeping quiet was a choice, but would have mortally wounded the company."

READ: Narayana Murthy's Address To Infosys Shareholders: Full Speech

"My main concern is the poor governance practised by the previous Board," Mr Murthy said while addressing institutional investors, adding, "Now, we can all sleep better knowing that, under his (Nandan Nilekani’s) leadership, the corporate governance standard practised by Infosys will be on par with the global best standard. I wish Nandan the best of everything in his effort to bring back Acche Din to Infosys.”

Mr Murthy listed what he said was the "core philosophy of corporate governance," stating that he wished to see Infosys "regain its stature of being a globally-respected corporation."

Complete coverage on Infosys row

Narayana Murthy, 71, led the company's co-founders in an acrimonious battle with the Infosys board for months over alleged corporate governance lapses, leading to the resignation earlier this month of CEO Vishal Sikka. Days later, Mr Nilekani, himself one of Infosys' seven founders and a former CEO of the company, was named its non-executive chairman in a victory for the founders.

Vishal Sikka, the first CEO of Infosys drawn from outside its founders, cited a lack of support from the founders as one of the main reasons for his abrupt resignation, sparking a sell-off that wiped Rs 30,000 crore (intra-day) off Infosys's market value. Dr Sikka blamed Mr Murthy for creating an "untenable atmosphere."

Narayana Murthy said on Tuesday he was "hurt by personal attacks" from his critics. "My actions were not for personal gain, they kept long-term shareholder interest in mind," he said.

He alleged that the previous Infosys board under then chairman R Seshasayee gave inconsistent responses on why former CFO Rajiv Bansal was paid a large severance. Mr Murthy had also made known his displeasure about hefty severance packages doled out to former top bosses at the company.

As Mr Nilekani took over last week, R Seshasayee and two other independent directors also stepped down. Ravi Venkatesan resigned as a co-chairman and now is an independent director of the company.

Nandan Nilekani, 62, has said his first priority is to bring stability to the company and also look for a new CEO to take charge of the company. “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,” he said.

Mr Murthy said on Tuesday that he had given Mr Nilekani "an IQ test which he passed with flying colours."

Later, Mr Nilekani has thanked Mr Murthy saying "he hopes to lead Infy with unanimous support of all stake holders."

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