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Clash of culture or governance: Proxy firms divided

Amit Tandon founder and MD of Institutional Investor Advisory Services (IiAS) feels that the tussle at Infosys is a result of clash of working styles of the founders and the current CEO of the firm Vishal Sikka.

Written by Khushboo Narayan | Mumbai | Published: February 11, 2017 2:15 am

Proxy advisory firms in the country are divided on whether the ongoing battle between the founders of Infosys and its current management is just a clash of culture or has more serious corporate governance repurcussions. For instance, Amit Tandon founder and MD of Institutional Investor Advisory Services (IiAS) feels that the tussle at Infosys is a result of clash of working styles of the founders and the current CEO of the firm Vishal Sikka.

“It is just a clash of working styles. The founders formed the company and have run it in India while Sikka is a professional who has worked abroad. Apart from this there is no change in the DNA with regard to ethics of the firm since Sikka joined,” said Tandon.

Shriram Subramanian, founder of InGovern, an advisory firm, said that since the appointment of Sikka, the firm has become “non transparent in its disclosures” to shareholders. “There is definitely some merit in the concerns raised by the founders that even took the issue to the Board and maybe it was not heard properly. The firm needs to be more transparent in its disclosures on severance packages to former employees and the salaries of top executives,” said Subramanian.

However, JN Gupta, co-founder and MDof advisory firm Stakeholder Empowerment Services said the larger issue of corporate governance in the tussle pertains to concerns voiced by Mohandas Pai who served as an Infosys Board member from 2000 to 2011. Pai recently told PTI that it was a “mistake” on the part of Murthy to “focus on only founders becoming leaders (CEOs)” which led many people to quit the firm.

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