Sikka wrote in the letter: “Over the last many months and quarters, we have all been besieged by false, baseless, malicious and increasingly personal attacks. The continuous drumbeat of distractions and negativity over the last several months/quarters inhibits our ability to make positive change and stay focused on value creation.”
Infosys COO U.B. Pravin Rao was named as interim managing director and CEO of the Bengaluru, India-based systems integrator. Rao will report to Sikka, who will serve as executive vice chairman until a permanent CEO takes office, which Infosys said is expected to happen no later than March 31, 2018.
However the rant makes for interesting reading:
“I cannot carry out my job as CEO and continue to create value, while also constantly defending against unrelenting, baseless/malicious and increasingly personal attacks. After much contemplation, I have decided to leave because the distractions, the very public noise around us, have created an untenable atmosphere.”
The company’s board backed Sikka and deflected criticisms made by company founder and former chairman NR Narayana Murthy, who claimed in recent emails that Infosys’ independent directors felt that Sikka was more CTO material than CEO material.
“The Board is profoundly distressed by the unfounded personal attacks on the members of our management team that were made in the anonymous letters. The Board denounced the critics who have amplified and sought to further promote demonstrably false allegations, which have harmed employee morale and contributed to the loss of the company’s valued CEO.”
Murthy fired back several hours later, noting that he voluntarily left Infosys’ board in 2014 and was not seeking any money, power or positions for his children. Murthy has in the past questioned pay raises granted to Sikka and Rao, as well as the size of severance payments given to others.
“I am extremely anguished by the allegations, tone and tenor of the statement,” Murthy said in his response. “My concern primarily was the deteriorating standard of corporate governance, which I have repeatedly brought to the notice of the Infosys board.”