36th Infosys AGM: Unhappy founders choose to skip
The 36th Annual General Meeting (AGM) for 2016-17 of Infosys in Bengaluru has reportedly not been attended by any of the co-founders, including NR Narayana Murthy. The promoters kept away as they have done since giving up all board and management responsibilities three years ago. There have been reports about a growing divide between the founders and CEO Vishal Sikka.
At the AGM, the shareholders asked the board and promoters to play down their differences in public. Some shareholders lauded the founders' contribution while some suggested they move on. The promoters earlier expressed their concerns about the way Infosys is being run. However, many shareholders expressed overwhelming support for the company's board and management for the way Infosys is navigating through challenging times.
The shareholders of the company also bid farewell to R Seshasayee, the Non-executive Chairman of Infosys, who is going to turn 70. He will retire from the post in May 2018. He was appointed as Chairman in 2015 after KV Kamath stepped down.
Chairman R Seshasayee chose to downplay the reports of a rift with promoters. He said the company will continue to take the promoters' suggestions seriously and also engage with all the founders, including Narayana Murthy. The Chairman also promised for the rest of his tenure, he would improve shareholder value and plan a smooth transition to his successor.
Seshasayee said when founders make comments, "We consider them even more seriously and respectfully as we all recognize that we are but trustees of an extraordinary institution that has been the result of the labor, foresight, and genius of an extraordinary group of founders."
According to Seshasayee, Infosys is going to simultaneously undertake three major transformations. The company aims to turn into a next-generation services firm by becoming an innovative, software and services company from a traditional IT service provider. It would have an independent board instead of the present promoter-led one. There will also be culture transformation with the induction of global talent.
While most shareholders reportedly stuck to their usual demands of more dividends, bonus shares, and stock split, a few of them did express dissatisfaction over the ongoing tussle between the management and promoters, which is affecting Infosys's performance and share price.