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Published On: Thu, Aug 24th, 2017

Nandan Nilekani is new Boss of Infosys

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Nandan-NilekaniMUMBAI : Former chairman of the UIDAI and became the architect of the Aadhaar.Nandan Nilekani has been named as the non-executive, non-independent Chairman of Infosys board, according to a Reuters report.
This is expected to put an end to an acrimonious dispute between its board and founders and shore up the plunging shares. Among the many duties that he will have is achieving a series of goals including hiring a new CEO. In his first reaction, Nandan Nilekani said that he is happy to return.

Ahead of appointment of Nilekani, Infosys Chairman R Seshasayee, co-chair Ravi Venkatesan, recently-resigned CEO Sikka plus two other board members resigned. Infosys has accepted their resignations. Nandan Nilekani has taken over in his new position with immediate effect. Jeffrey S Lehman has resigned as Director at Infosys too.UB Pravin Rao will continue as interim CEO and MD at Infosys.

Nandan Nilekani as the Non Executive Chairman of the Board, effective immediately. Mr. Nilekani is an iconic leader, a successful entrepreneur and investor, and someone who has played a pivotal role in India’s transition to a digital economy. Mr Nilekani, one of the seven engineers who founded Infosys in 1981, was its CEO from 2002 to 2007 and will take over as non-executive chairman and non-independent director with immediate effect, the company said in a statement to stock exchanges.

Among his many achievements, Mr Nilekani led the implementation of one of the world’s biggest technology initiatives, India’s Aadhaar program, which has now enrolled over a billion Indians and which is transforming the lives of ordinary Indians every day. He is also one of the co-founders of Infosys and served as its CEO from 2002 to 2007.

Nilesh Shah at Kotak MF has reacted to this latest change at Infosys by saying, “Confident that Nandan Nilekani will be able to win confidence of promoters, investors.”  In his reaction, former Sebi chief M Damodaran said, “Nandan Nilekani has been brought back as he has broad-based acceptance of stakeholders.”
This appointment comes in the wake of the feud that went on between chairman emeritus NR Narayana Murthy and the board that was chaired by R Seshasayee and co-chaired by Ravi Venkatesan and which finally led to then CEO and MD Vishal Sikka quitting. He quit after making some explosive revelations and saying saying the assault on him by Murthy was distracting and disruptive. In fact, he actually said ‘continuous assault’.
Notably, Nilekani had resigned from his post in Infosys in 2009 and joined former PM Manmohan SIngh led UPA government. He was appointed chairman of the UIDAI and became the architect of the Aadhaar.
The appointment of Mr Nilekani comes days after Mr Sikka resigned, saying he was unable to serve as chief executive amid a “continuous assault” by founder Narayana Murthy. “It’s a good development as the company has got a credible face on the board who will act as a guide, and assure clients and shareholders that critical functions and strategies will continue,” said Harit Shah, IT analyst at Reliance Securities.
Mr Murthy and a few former Infosys executives have for months waged a public battle against the board of Infosys, accusing it of corporate governance lapses. Disagreements between the two sides included the rise in Mr Sikka’s compensation, the acquisition of Israeli automation firm Panaya for $200 million and a severance package offered to a former finance chief.
The clamour for a change at the Infosys board had grown louder after Mr Sikka’s departure with a group of 12 major institutional investors urging the company to invite Mr Nilekani to the board.
© Thomson Reuters 2017



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