Nilekani has his job cut out for him at Infosys
Nandan Nilekani, Infosys' new chairman of the board, returns after 10 years to an active role at the company he founded.
Dubai - 'Iconic' leader, successful entrepreneur and investor has played a pivotal role in India's transition to a digital economy
By Staff Report
Published: Thu 24 Aug 2017, 8:58 PM
Last updated: Thu 24 Aug 2017, 11:01 PM
Indian IT giant Infosys announced on Thursday that its board of directors has unanimously approved the appointment of Nandan Nilekani as the chairman of the board, effective immediately.
Nilekani is an iconic leader, a successful entrepreneur and investor, and someone who has played a pivotal role in India's transition to a digital economy. Among his many achievements, Nilekani led the implementation of one of the world's biggest technology initiatives, India's Aadhaar programme, which has now enrolled over a billion Indians and which is transforming the lives of ordinary Indians every day. He is also one of the co-founders of Infosys and served as its CEO from 2002 to 2007.
In welcoming Nilekani, outgoing chairman R. Seshasayee, who stepped down from the board, stated: "Nandan is the ideal leader for Infosys at this stage in the company's development. His appointment will allow Infosys to focus on the strategic changes it needs to make in order to capitalise on the attractive opportunities in the years ahead. Under Nandan, Infosys will build a cohesive management team that will no doubt take the company to a leadership position in the industry.
"I believe these changes will infuse further confidence to the stakeholders in executing the transition plan and in reinforcing the strategy for the future. I am confident our employees and customers will join me in welcoming Nandan to the company." Also stepping down from the board, effective immediately, are Dr Vishal Sikka, Prof Jeffrey Lehman and Prof John Etchemendy, each of whom welcomed the appointment of the new chairman. Dr Sikka said, "Last week I said that my remaining on the Infosys board was to primarily enable a smooth transition. In Nandan, we have found an ideal leader to manage this transition. "I welcome Nandan's appointment as chairman to help guide Infosys to new frontiers of success and wish him, Pravin and all Infoscions the very best in the times ahead."
Prof Lehman, who was scheduled to retire from the board in April 2018, stated: "With Vishal's departure, Infosys is entering into a stage in which the time demands on independent directors will be compounded even further. In light of the other demands on my time, I think it best if I accelerate my departure from the board by a few months to allow a new independent director to start in this important role."
Prof Etchemendy said: "It has been a great honour and pleasure to serve the shareholders of Infosys for the past three years, and to have a front row seat during the transformative strategies that Vishal Sikka brought as the CEO. With Vishal's departure, the board and his successor will embark on a new phase in Infosys' future, and I think that giving up my board seat to a new independent director is the right decision."
Upon the appointment of Nilekani as chairman, Ravi Venkatesan stepped down from his role as co-chairman. Venkatesan will continue on the board.
The board had, on August 18, 2017, appointed Dr Sikka as the executive vice-chairman to facilitate a smooth transition. This transition has been expedited with the appointment of Nilekani.
Given that the executive vice-chairman employment agreement with Dr Sikka had not yet been executed, the board, prior to the induction of Nilekani, decided that the company will complete all resignation formalities as per Dr Sikka's employment contract as managing director and CEO as executed on April 1, 2016, and approved by the shareholders.
Accordingly, Dr Sikka will receive 90 days' base pay in lieu of notice of $246,575, a variable pay of $205,572 and company-paid Cobra (employee benefits) for 90 days. All equity awards outstanding as on separation date to the extent such awards are unvested will terminate on the date of separation. All equity awards that vested during his employment with the company will remain as vested as per the terms of the equity plan and award agreement. A separation agreement reflecting this and other terms such as a mutual release and non-disparagement obligation has been approved by the board.
Venkatesan stated: "It is a great privilege to have worked with a person of such stature and dignity as Sesh. It has been an honour for the entire board to be captained by him. His strength of character and his unwavering commitment to the company is deeply admired by all members who have served alongside him on this board."