Infosys founders want justification for CEO Sikka’s Rs.49 crore annual salary, David Kennedy’s $8.6 million severance.
Led by N Narayana Murthy, the Infosys founders have officially voiced their concerns about the level of transparency in the Infosys corporate structure and the efficiency of its corporate governance. The founders want to know how the company expects to achieve the ambitious $20 billion target that’s been set for 2020 by Vishal Sikka, CEO of Infosys Ltd. In addition to this, stakeholders are also questioning the compensation package offered to Sikka, and the severance package that was offered to former Chief Compliance Officer David Kennedy.
In 2014, Narayana Murthy and the five founders of Infosys stepped-down as promoter-shareholders to make sure that their involvement and influence over the company would be reduced after they left their executive roles in the company. In August 2014, Vishal Sikka was appointed as CEO, and he has since steered the company towards automation and pushed the idea of design thinking. He has also invested heavily in AI (artificial intelligence) platforms in anticipation of a spending shift as customers chose to rely more and more on cloud services rather than traditional services.
Decisions like these were seen as an attempt by the company to move beyond a people-driven business to a largely software-driven one, and this saw many executives quit. The CEO and company have also been criticized for not being in line with the principles on which the company was built, with current projections being totally contrary to Narayana Murthy’s principle of ‘under promise -over deliver’.
In addition, the first non-founder CEO has also been criticized by analysts for displaying non-transparency in corporate governance. No explanation was given as to why David Kennedy was let go without any notice and given an $8 million+ severance package, or what exactly Sikka’s performance metrics are to justify his Rs.49 crore annual salary. Even the appointment of non-independent D N Prahlad, a relative of N R Narayana Murthy, is being questioned.