Ravi Venkatesan named co-chairman of Infosys as company looks for image makeover

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Software giant Infosys, on Thursday announced the appointment of Ravi Venkatesan as co-chairman of the company even as it tries to douse an internal feud. Venkatesan will share the duties with R Seshasayee, who will also continue to work as co-chairman.

Ravi-Venkatesan
Ravi Venkatesan will take over as co-chairman of Infosys as the company looks for an image makeover. (Image courtesy Infosys.com)

The company has run into rough weather on the governance front, with founder N R Narayana Murthy publicly questioning Seshasayee, the chairman and other board members. Murthy was extremely vocal about the severance pay offered to Rajiv Bansal, former CFO of Infosys. He was also keen to have Marti Subramanyam as the co-chairman to sort out the mess.

Venkatesan has enjoyed a good relationship with Murthy, having served on the board of Infosys as an Independent Director since 2011. Seshasayee put to rest any doubts about a battle for power, stating that Venkatesan would work on company strategy while he himself would concentrate on governance and investor relationships.

Venkatesan is currently the chairman of Bank of Baroda, having previously been the chairman of Microsoft India. He is also an author and a board member of The Rockefeller Foundation.

Former board member, V Balakrishnan stated in an interview with Business Standard that the move might result in Infosys getting top-heavy, with a number of senior roles. The company will have two co-chairmen, a COO, deputy COO, and CEO.

Name Designation
Dr. Vishal Sikka Chief Executive Officer
Pravin Rao Chief Operating Officer
R Seshasayee Co-chairman
Ravi Venkatesan Co-chairman
Ravi Kumar S Deputy Chief Operating Officer

The company ended the FY 2016-17 with a revenue of $10.21 billion, a growth of 7.4 per cent. The net profit in the last quarter of the year, however, fell by 0.8 per cent to $543 million as the public feud hurt its image. Net profit for the full year stood at $2.14 billion.

In a bid to placate promoters and shareholders, Infosys will increase the payout offered to Rs.13,000 crore. The company previously spent 63 per cent of free cash flow to buy back shares or provide dividends to shareholders.

Read more: Infosys founders will not lose “promoter” tag

Other prominent members on the board of Infosys include Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, D N Prahlad, and Jeffrey Sean Lehman.

Also read: Infosys conundrum: Hiring at all time low

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