In an unexpected move Vishal Sikka, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Infosys Ltd has resigned. The company has named Pravin Rao as the interim MD and CEO. As the news broke, the stock prices of Infosys tumbled by as much as 6 per cent.
In a filing made to the Bombay Stock Exchange, the company said "This is to inform you that the board of directors of Infosys Ltd has at its meeting today (18 August) has accepted the resignation of Dr Vishal Sikka as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the company with immediate effect. The board has also appointed Dr Vishal Sikka as the Executive Vice-Chairman and U B Pravin Rao as the Interim-Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer."
The Board in its BSE communication also added that "the succession plan for appointment of a new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer has been operationalized by the board and a search for the same has been commenced."
Sikka is an Indian-American. Prior to joining Infosys, Sikka was a member of the Executive Board and the Global Managing Board of SAP, leading all SAP products and innovation globally. Sikka left the SAP board in May 2014 for "personal reasons" and was announced as CEO and MD of Infosys on 12 June, 2014.
Sikka had been under fire and criticism off late particularly from Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy. As reported by media on 17 August, Murthy had claimed in an email to some of his advisers that he had been told by at least three independent directors of the company that Vishal Sikka was more of a chief technology officer (CTO) material than chief executive officer (CEO) material.
“All that I hear from at least three independent directors, including Ravi Venkatesan (co-chairman), are complaints about Dr Sikka. They have told me umpteen times that Dr Sikka is not a CEO material but CTO material. This is the view of at least three members of the board, and not my view since I have not seen him operate from the vantage point of an Infosys board member,” Murthy was quoted in media.
It is also known that Murthy has publicly been critical of Infosys in the past few months.