New Delhi: Infosys chief executive Vishal Sikka today hit out at detractors for “false and malicious” stories about the company saying they were “designed” to target him to the point of harassment.
In a strongly worded email to Infosys employees, Sikka said reports questioning the company’s acquisition of US-based Panaya are “orchestrated by people who are hell-bent on harming the reputation of the company and its employees.”
In February 2015, Infosys had announced buying New Jersey-based automation technology company Panaya — its second largest acquisition deal — for $200 million or Rs 1,250 crore in cash.
Sikka termed the reports as “false and malicious” and said the “speculations and fabrications are clearly designed to tarnish our reputation, and they specifically target our employees, including myself, to the point of harassment.”
“We cannot let these stand unchallenged, and we will take every step and pursue every avenue to strongly defend the company in the face of these unfair and unwarranted attacks,” he said.
Sikka — who is pitted against a clutch of co-founders led by N R Narayana Murthy voicing concerns over a spike in his remuneration and hefty severance packages for two former executives — said fresh allegations on Panaya acquisition were distractions that are “expensive, draining and time-consuming.
Stating that the company has “far bigger battles ahead”, Sikka urged employees to “rise above the distractions, focus on what really matters, and deliver”.
“I am, as always, counting on your faith and unwavering attention to what really matters. Change is never easy, and change at the scale that we are undertaking may be unprecedented, and perhaps it is this change that has so inflamed some into trying to drag us all into the mud,” he said.
Sikka reiterated that the company takes every whistleblower complaint very seriously and that there is due process to investigate any complaint that comes to it.
A section of media reported about a whistleblower’s letter to market regulator SEBI, alleging irregularities in the acquisition of Panaya.
“They create a false alternate-reality out of events and dates, with embellishments that are calculated to mislead and sensationalise,” he added.
Sikka said though these “distractions are expensive, draining and time-consuming”, it is Infosys’ burden to ensure that the company’s business continues “unflinchingly”.
Emphasising that the year ahead will decisively separate the “has-beens” in the industry from the “to-bes”, Sikka said, “Our success will be a success for all of us, including those whose ample shoulders we stand on. Our failure will be more than a failure of a company – it will be a failure of an industry, and a dream. We cannot let that happen.”
Mentioning about his visit to a very old Buddhist temple, Sikka said, “It was a fleeting peaceful moment in an unnecessarily difficult week. But the row of Buddhas there, in a moment of clarity, indicated to me that with compassion and unflinching resolve, we will get there. We must, and we will.”
Over the last few weeks, Infosys has come under fire from some of the co-founders who have alleged corporate governance lapses.
Some former employees also called for re-constitution of the Board and demanded that Chairman R Seshasayee step down taking moral responsibility over issues like steep compensation hike of Sikka and hefty severance packages to ex-CFO Rajiv Bansal and David Kennedy, its former General Counsel.
Infosys Board and management have, however, stood their ground denying these charges.
On an investor call, Sikka had also stated that the company’s large clients have come out in its support.