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Infosys founder Murthy defends role in boardroom feud
August 29, 2017 / 1:59 PM / 3 months ago

Infosys founder Murthy defends role in boardroom feud

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Infosys Ltd founder Narayana Murthy on Tuesday defended his role in a months-long war of words with the company’s board that led to changes at the top, saying his actions were in the interest of shareholders.

Narayana Murthy, founder of Infosys Limited, speaks during a dialogue session at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong January 19, 2015. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/files

Speaking to investors on a conference call, Murthy said he hoped the company’s management would rally behind Nandan Nilekani, a co-founder and a former Infosys CEO, who was named as non-executive chairman last week.

Vishal Sikka, the first CEO of Infosys drawn from outside its founders, resigned this month, blaming Murthy for creating an “untenable atmosphere”.

Sikka’s sudden exit sparked a sell-off that wiped billions of dollars off Infosys’s market value, forcing India’s No. 2 IT services firm to reshuffle its board and bring back Nilekani.

On Tuesday, Murthy reiterated concerns about the previous board’s corporate governance practices, including the “excessive” severance paid to a former finance chief, but expressed hope that things would take a turn for the better under Nilekani’s leadership.

“In fact, based on Nandan’s media interviews and the recent changes in the board, I believe that corrective actions have already begun,” Murthy said.

The return of Nilekani, who is credited with quadrupling Infosys’ revenue to $2 billion, has cheered investors - he is widely expected to end the board’s row with founder executives, help clients and boost employee morale.

Nilekani told investors last week his priorities were to find a CEO, reconstitute the board and shape future strategy.

Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Keith Weir and Adrian Croft

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