Vishal Sikka's Infosys stint: The highs and lows
Vishal Sikka's tenure at Infosys has been filled with bitter controversies, a war between the Narayana Murthy-led founders' camp and the Sikka-led management, and "unrelenting, baseless/malicious and increasingly personal attacks". In his publicly-posted resignation letter, he has talked about his experience at the company, ranging from the growth, transformation, allegations against him, and his future plans. Here are the highlights.
"In three years, we have decisively turned things around"
Sikka talked about how growth rate was low and attrition high when he took over in 2014. "In three years, we have turned things around." Since he became CEO, the share price of Infosys went up by 54% in Aug'16. As of February'17, Infosys was trading 22% above what it was in June'14. Sikka says Infosys is now "better in every dimension I can think of".
"This journey was difficult. Transformations are hard to begin with"
"This journey has been a difficult one. Transformations are hard to begin with." Among the changes Sikka brought, significant are his going against Infosys's age-old "under promise, over deliver" rule (he set a target of doubling revenues to $20bn, and later revised goals); and his innovation-focused Zero Distance drive. Automation and analytics were Sikka's focus, and all in 'Ginni Rometty' style, says SV Gogia.
"Need to return to environment of respect, trust, empowerment"
"I need to move forward, and return to an environment of respect, trust and empowerment," leaving behind "distractions (and) an untenable atmosphere". A major controversy was Sikka's pay that founders were unhappy with ($11mn- $3mn fixed and remaining variable); hefty severance packages to certain employees, and alleged lapses in corporate governance. Sikka and Murthy hadn't reportedly interacted for five months.
"We have laid the foundation for the next 30 years"
"Even in the midst of all of the distractions…we managed to persevere and make progress. We have laid the foundation for the next 30 years of Infosys." Ravi Venkatesan, board co-chairman, agrees. He iterated Sikka's new strategy will be the way forward for the company. The board, while defending Sikka, also ruled out any formal role in governance for the founders.
What's next for Sikka?
"Over the next weeks and months, I look forward to working with the Board and management to create a smooth transition, and simultaneously staring into the great unknown, and to doing something great, something purposeful, for the times ahead."