Infosys Chief Executive Vishal Sikka said talk in media on corporate governance issues at the software services firm was “distracting” and that he had good relations with the firm’s founders, including N.R. Narayana Murthy.
India’s second biggest IT services company, based in the tech hub of Bengaluru, has recently been in an escalating public spat with its founders and former executives, who have accused its board of lapses in corporate governance.
“All this drama that has been going on in the media, it’s very distracting – it takes away attention – but underneath that there is a very strong fabric that this company is based on and it is a real privilege for me to be its leader,” Sikka said in response to a question at the Kotak Institutional Equities conference in Mumbai on Monday.
The comments come at a time when there has been a lot of buzz around some of the founders flagging concerns about governance lapses at Infosys and issues like hike in Sikka’s compensation to USD 11 million and huge severance pay doled out to former executives, Rajiv Bansal and David Kennedy.
“The other day he was telling me about the Paris Metro and how he worked on the Paris Metro in the 1970s before he started Infosys, and it had this whole ideas about automation and autonomous driving and all,” he reminisced.
Another issue that some of the former senior executives have raised is the huge cash pile of USD 5.25 billion that Infosys has.
Asked about his views on the matter, Sikka said his “official” answer is that the Board, from time to time, will consider capital allocation policies and when there is something to report, the company will do so.
“The unofficial answer is, you look at the circumstances over the next 4-5 years, what you need the capital for and then decide. In our case, it is the strategic growth initiatives, capital for building infrastructure and then acquisitions,” he said.
Based on how that mix changes over the next 5 years, one takes a decision on how the cash is utilised, he added.