I have 100% backing of the Infosys board, says Vishal Sikka


Bengaluru: Infosys Ltd’s chief executive officer (CEO) Vishal Sikka said on Friday that he had the complete backing of the company’s board and wasn’t fazed by the decision of some promoters to abstain from voting on a resolution granting him a two-year extension.

“I’m not disappointed. I don’t care. I have 100% backing of the board and support from the shareholders,” Sikka said when asked if he was disappointed that only 23.57% of promoter votes were cast in favour of the resolution extending his term until 2021.

“I still respect the founders. Why they did this, you should ask them,” said Sikka.

The fact that so few promoter votes were cast in favour of the resolution extending Sikka’s term was seen as a possible signal that they weren’t overly happy with the board’s decision.

To be sure, the reason why the promoters chose to abstain from voting for this resolution is not clear.

The promoters voted overwhelmingly in favour of three of the other resolutions (two dealt with a stock incentive plan and a third was on reappointment of Jeffrey Lehman as independent director). On a fifth resolution, the appointment of Punita Kumar Sinha as an independent director, again, only 23.57% of promoter votes were cast in favour.

Only five of the seven original co-founders, N.R. Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani, S.D. Shibulal, Kris Gopalakrishnan and K. Dinesh are categorized as promoters of the company.

Together, the promoters of Infosys had 13.07% stake in the company as of 31 December. None of them responded toMint’s request for an explanation.

The resolution to reappoint Sikka as CEO until 2021 was taken by the Infosys board in February, and it decided to reward him with a 55% rise in compensation, to $11 million. Sikka was appointed CEO in 2014 for a five-year term.

The board tied Sikka’s higher compensation to the company’s performance, as $5 million of his new compensation is to be paid in stock options, and depend on Infosys keeping up with its stated goal of becoming a $20 billion company by March 2021.