ET spoke with several present and former Infosys employees to get a sense of how they see the ongoing controversy around issues of corporate governance unfolding. Infosys cofounder NR Narayana Murthy and other promoters have made public their discontent with the company’s management and called for an overhaul of its board.
Also Read: Infosys crisis: Board Members throw their weight behind non-executive chairman R Seshasayee
While the employees seem rather disinterested in the larger battle, there was ample heartburn about Sikka’s compensation that amounts to about $11 million a year from this year. Even at his 2016 salary of about $7.08 million, Sikka had the highest ratio of CEO compensation to median employee remuneration— 935.38 times the median salary —among the top three Indian IT companies.
“People are happy with Vishal Sikka but not with his salary,” said a Pune-based employee.
“Infosys hasn’t raised visa requests for the system engineers and senior system engineers. There is a general sense that promotions will be halted or delayed by using these governance issues and results as an excuse.”
A Bengaluru-based senior employee said more worried conversations were happening at the level of business unit heads. “After Sikka came in, the environment changed and some people used to the traditional way of functioning did not like things changing.
Also Read: Infosys crisis: Vishal Sikka to meet investors on Monday
Right now, the senior employees considered close to Sikka are seemingly in a huddle, worried about any possible top-level changes,” she said.
Trouble has been brewing at Infosys for over a year. The large severance paid to the company’s former chief financial officer, Rajiv Bansal, disclosed in 2016, and Sikka’s raised compensation brought matters to a head. Promoters are also upset with the appointment of Punita Kumar-Sinha, an investment banker and wife of Union minister Jayant Sinha, as an independent director.
Murthy, in an interview to ET, questioned the actions of Infosys Chairman R Seshasayee and independent director Jeffrey Lehman.
On Thursday, Sikka wrote to employees asking them not to be distracted by speculation about the company’s commitment to governance, integrity and values, and highlighted the improvements the company has made in his tenure.
SERIES OF TROUBLES
Infosys employees said they were worried about the company’s image getting dented. “It seems some trouble or the other has been hovering over Infosys of late—first the murder of the Pune employee and now this,” said an Infosys employee in Chennai.
In January, 25-year-old Rasila Raju was found murdered at her workstation in Infosys’ Pune campus, leading to the arrest of one of the security guards at the company’s office.
Infosys, meanwhile, attempted to project normalcy with a statement announcing celebrations of an annual folk festival, Ellu Bella, at its Bengaluru campus. “To commemorate this special occasion, a model of ‘halli mane’, a traditional village hut, was installed in the campus lawn using scrapyard materials,” the company said in the statement, with colourful pictures of the celebration.
It is not just Infosys employees bemused by storm that has gathered over their company.
“With Infosys, there is always something. First it was everyone leaving, then there was the murder, now there is this new issue. I hope it does not drag on because both Vishal Sikka and Narayana Murthy are well-respected,” said an employee with one of India’s largest IT services companies, declining to be identified.
Another employee at a Tata Group company joked that his firm wasn’t “the only ones with housekeeping troubles,” referring to the recent friction between the Tata Sons board and its now ousted chairman Cyrus Mistry.
9 Comments on this Story
Angel1482 days ago
Sikka will swallow all the money and make employees work like slaves without proper promotions and hikes? What kind of an example is this. The board thinks the company will run well with such leadership? It''s a board of fools if they think nothing is wrong with this kind of management where only the top management swallows . At the ground level the work is being done by the employees and if the employees are dissatisfied clients are not going to stick on whether Sikka has the title Dr, SIR or even James bond. Bunch of fools lacking common sense.
Robin1482 days ago
Easy way all drama in Infosys by Sikka and Murthy before going for mass firing.
bishwajit dutta1482 days ago
Engineers at Infosys have to live on hands and mouth. Shame on you infosys.