Infosys elevates independent director Ravi Venkatesan as co-chairman
1. Ravi Venkatesan has been on the Infosys board since April 2011
2. Venkatesan will help Infosys' existing chairman R Seshasayee to enhance the board engagement in supporting the management in execution of the company's strategy
3. The move should not be interpreted as being a response to the founders' alleging governance lapses and demanding restructuring of the board, cited Infosys' chairman R Seshasayee
India's leading IT software services exporter Infosys on Thursday announced the appointment of its independent director Ravi Venkatesan as co-chairman of the company, PTI reported.
Infosys latest move is seen as a step taken by the board to end its public spat with founders mainly with N R Narayana Murthy.
"Ravi Venkatesan will help me enhance the board engagement in supporting the management in execution of the company's strategy," the news report said quoting Infosys chairman R Seshasayee, as saying.
Seshasayee stating that Venkatesan's name was not mooted by the company's promoters, said, "I wanted the bandwidth to be increased and the board said let us get Ravi to take part of your load...And so there we are together on this."
Venkatesan has been on the Infosys board since April 2011.
He further said the move should not be interpreted as being a response to the founders' alleging governance lapses and demanding restructuring of the board.
On asked whether he would play peacemaker between the two sides, Venkatesan told CNBC TV18 that he did not see the need for an "official peacemaker role".
"I live in Bangalore and most of the promoters have been friends of long standing. We regularly and routinely run into each other. So, that sort of friendly relationship will continue. But I don't see the need for an official peacemaker role," the report further said quoting Seshasayee, as saying.
In a statement, Infosys highlighted Venkatesan's "valuable contribution to the development of strategic direction of the company during his tenure".
According to the news report, the recent annnouncement by Infosys comes against the backdrop of a tussle between the founders and the management over contentious issues like CEO salary hike, severance package to former employees and corporate governance standards.
On whether the management expected the expansion of the board to address founders' concerns, Infosys chief executive officer (CEO) Vishal Sikka declined to make specific comments.
"I have no idea whether it will get worse, get better or remain the same. We (management) have had a very strong relationship with board. Board's primary function is governance and our job is strategy execution," the report said quoting Sikka, as saying.
Emphasising that he enjoyed a "great working relationship" with Venkatesan, Sikka said "running the company is our responsibility and that is what we focus on".
Interestingly, Sikka highlighted that "unanticipated execution challenges and distractions" as partly affecting the company's performance in the March quarter.
Infosys' consolidated net profit for the fourth quarter (Q4) ended on March 31 this year grew by 0.2% to Rs 3,603 crore as compared to Rs 3,597 crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal, Zeebiz reported.
Its consolidated revenues during the period increased by 3.4% to Rs 17,120 crore as against Rs 16,550 crore in the corresponding period of last fiscal.
In Indian rupee terms, Infosys consolidated total operating expenses during the quarter under grew by 3.4% to Rs 2,138 crore as against Rs 2,068 crore in the same quarter of previous fiscal.
Sikka, however, declined to elaborate on his statement, merely saying, "I need not tell you what the distractions have been. It is our job to manage the company to lead the company in the times that we are in".