Vishal Sikka resigns: Narayana Murthy becomes the villain in former Infosys CEO's Mark Antony moment

Vishal Sikka's resignation letter, never once, mentions the name of Infosys co-founder N R Narayanamurthy, but the letter is all about him.

Dinesh Unnikrishnan August 18, 2017 15:20:49 IST
Vishal Sikka resigns: Narayana Murthy becomes the villain in former Infosys CEO's Mark Antony moment

Vishal Sikka's resignation letter, never once, mentions the name of Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy, but the letter is all about him. The letter unmistakably points fingers at Murthy, portrays him as the villain of the story who caused the tragic end to the hero at the end, and warns his successor to be cautious against the forces that caused his downfall.

There are ample evidences of Sikka's Mark Antony act in his resignation letter. Sikka talks about "the distractions" he has seen throughout his tenure, "the constant drumbeat of the same issues over and over again while ignoring and undermining the good work that has been done," the false, baseless, malicious and increasingly personal attacks," and allegations that have been repeatedly proven false and baseless by multiple, independent investigations."

Vishal Sikka resigns Narayana Murthy becomes the villain in former Infosys CEOs Mark Antony moment

A file image of former Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka with company founder Narayan Murthy. PTI

In the letter, Sikka appears disappointed with the Murthy-attack, even after being cleared of the charges, "the attacks continue, and worse still, amplified by the very people from whom we all expected the most steadfast support in this great transformation," he says. And finally, Sikka concludes how addressing this noise itself was damaging and how hundreds of hours of his time has gone into this recently.

It all started in February 2016 when the Infosys board gave Sikka a 55 percent pay hike making his salary Rs $11 million. After that, Murthy has raised multiple charges against Sikka-ranging from corporate governance issues, compensation to top staff and on certain acquisitions. Murthy had also said that many of the board directors had told him that Sikka was not CEO but CTO material.

In fact, as a co-founder, no one could have questioned Murthy if he raised concern on larger corporate governance issues in Infosys and guided the company he co-founded in right direction, but he could have certainly approached the issue in a different way avoiding a high-profile public spat in media. It only damaged Infosys' image and caused further confusion. Also, given the way Sikka exited, his successor too will be under tremendous pressure to find a balance between founders and the management.

Murthy's allegations were primarily on the corporate governance issues in Infosys not on his performance per se. Sikka's term has seen Infosys advancing both in terms of innovation and revenue generation. During his term, Infosys' profit and margins grew by healthy margins. Infosys's revenue grew by 28 percent from Rs 13,342 crore in Jul-Sep 2014 quarter to Rs 17,078 crore in Apr-Jun 2017 quarter.

Sikka has mentioned about the technology transformation Infosys achieved during his term and ends his exit letter warning his successor about Murthy in indirect words.

"If these types of attacks continue, I hope each of you will continue to be the voice of fairness and reason - providing the active, emphatic and unequivocal support that the company, the management, the employees, and all of the stakeholders and friends of the company need in order to succeed." Without naming Murthy even once in the letter, Murthy ends up being the villain in Sikka's Mark Antony act, a role someone of his stature never really needed to act.

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