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Will be at Infosys till stability returns, expect strategy by Oct: Nilekani

Infosys' co-founder Nandan Nilekani has been appointed non-executive chairman of the company

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Nandan Nilekani returns to infosys as chairman
Illustration: Ajay Mohanty

Infosys' new Chairman Nandan Nilekani on Friday said he would focus on finding a chief executive, reconstituting the board and future strategy, and seek to calm investors rattled by the recent shock exit of the firm’s CEO, Vishal Sikka, over a prolonged row with the founders.

"I have come in to focus on the future of the company, take the company forward and deal with its challenges," Nilekani told investors on a call on Friday, adding that he would stay with the IT services company as long as necessary. 

Nilekani repeatedly reiterated that his focus would be on getting a new CEO at the earliest and parallelly reconstituting its board and re-stabilizing its business.

Nilekani, one of Infosys’ seven founders and also a former CEO, was named chairman late Thursday as part of a board shakeup aimed at putting to bed a months-long bitter dispute between key founder Narayana Murthy and the board over alleged corporate governance lapses.

Here are the highlights of the call:

  • We will look at internal and external leaders, including alumni, for the next CEO of Infosys. It will be a global search 

  • I will stay as long as necessary and I will go once I am not necessary. I will not put a timeframe on this and my appointment to the board is not with a time limitation. Of course, one of my tasks is to find a new CEO. My job is to ensure that the company is on the path to a sound future 

  • I am here more than just as a founder. I have done some significant things since leaving Infosys. This is to do with restoring the company on the right path. All my life, I have been a consensus builder. I will bring the same consensus building here. I am committed to all shareholders and to a board that is fully independent

  • Will unveil new and updated Infosys strategy in October

  • Will be responsible for board oversight and functioning

  • Will address corporate governance issues, looking at it with a dispassionate approach
  • Do not want management team to get distracted from their primary job. Biggest task is to bring down the noise in the system and bring alignment between management and shareholders

  • Will focus on future of Infosys and overcome challenges

  • Expect a few quick decisions in the next few days

  • For the next CEO, we need someone with strong technology prowess who can build and maintain relations with all stakeholders 

  • A search committee will be formed soon to appoint the new CEO 

  • We will look at the current composition of 8 board members and do a systematic search for appropriate board members

  • Next step is to prevent growth loss to the firm

  • The biggest task as chairman is to ensure alignment between board and shareholders and ensure everyone goes back to the task of building a strong Infosys. I have not come here as a CEO. I have come here as the guy who has the confidence of all stakeholders

  • I will leave only once stability has been established

  • Infosys is an unusual company where we are trying to professionalise and hand the baton over to a new generation of leaders. I am committed to that task

  • Alignment between the board and shareholders is the need of the hour at Infosys 

  • Nomination committee is headed by an excellent person like Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

  • Confident Aadhaar will come out with flying colours. The Supreme Court judgment is a superb one

Nilekani will hold the first board meeting next week as  the chairman of Infosys.

  • Important to reach out to investors at the earliest. Focus is on the future, stabilising Infosys, getting a new CEO on board 

  • I am grateful to Mr Murthy who led the path on corporate governance. Grateful to the board that unanimously asked me to take up the job. Grateful to all investors who have confidence in me. Overwhelmed by the support

First Published: Fri, August 25 2017. 10:28 IST