The long series of conflicts and misunderstandings between the founders of Infosys and its CEO Vishal Sikka has finally come to an end. Vishal Sikka recently stepped down from his role.
Sikka took office in August 2014. During his years at the helm, Sikka led efforts to diversify Infosys away from basic IT outsourcing services into more lucrative areas like cloud, automation, and artificial intelligence.
Infosys’ share price surged 22 percent from then to Thursday, outperforming the broader Nifty IT index, which gained 6.3 percent in the period.
Now, there is massive pressure on the board of Infosys to find someone who can both replace Sikka and lead the company as well as he did.
In his final email as CEO, Sikka wrote his resignation is the result of the continuing personal attacks “amplified” by people within Infosys who he thought would extend steadfast support. It is clear that his resignation is the result of recent attacks that Infosys cofounder Narayana Murthy unleashed against him via the media.
A press statement from Infosys said Sikka had valid reasons to resign as he was under great pressure after attacks increased from different quarters, which he deemed as personal and negative, resulting in the management losing focus in transforming the company.
Murthy has been after Sikka for a while through repeated attacks on the CEO’s corporate governance skills. He was also unhappy with the executive pay of some of the employees of the company, including Sikka’s.
In July, Yusuf Bashir resigned from the position of managing director of Infosys Innovation Fund. Executive Vice President Ritika Suri also resigned from the company last month.
The appointment of Sikka resulted in a paradigm shift in the functioning of India’s second-largest technology company. For the first time since its inception, the key operations moved to Palo Alto with Sikka making important decisions from the U.S.
With the stepping down of Sikka, Infosys missed out on an opportunity to position itself as a U.S. company. The United States is by far the company’s biggest market. It will be a major task for the next CEO to tap the market and understand the demographics and environment as well as Sikka did.