Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund, which holds a 2.13 per cent stake in the company and has been a long-term investor said: “We have been enormously pleased to see the stabilising hands of Vishal Sikka, who has improved underlying operating performance and begun to articulate a coherent strategy to a firm beset by a host of structural challenges to the ageing offshore IT service industry.”
Since February 6, the Infosys stock price has risen 3.11 per cent, and closed Friday’s session at Rs 968.05 on the BSE, a gain of 2.10 per cent. The support from investors should come as a boost for Sikka, who has been caught in the crossfire between board chairman R Seshasayee and Infosys founders led by NR Narayana Murthy. The founders have remained consistent in their view that they do not have any issues with the performance of the CEO and only with the governance standards followed by the board.
Investors would not be pleased with another leadership change. V Balakrishnan, the former Infosys board member said the founders had brought in the CEO, a professional they fully supported. “There is no disconnect between the founders and CEO. The issue is between the board and founders. I do not think the institutional investors understand the issue, they have to do more diligence and look at this issue in a different way.”
According to people familiar with the developments, the 40-50 per cent increase in the compensation of Sikka effective from January 2017 has been a sore point for the founders, who felt that it was not justified. “It is responsibility of the board to rein in or control some of the demands made by the management. I think they gave into the demands without studying their merits,” one of the sources said.
Besides, the founders have also raised the points of exit compensation given to two key former executives, chief financial officer Rajiv Bansal and chief compliance officer David Kennedy.