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Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy speaks out on spat with Vishal Sikka

The youth should speak the 'blunt truth' that this is not the freedom our forefathers fought for, Murthy said

By PTI in Mumbai
  • Published 13.07.19, 7:06 PM
  • Updated 13.07.19, 7:06 PM
  • 2 mins read
N.R. Narayana Murthy Telegraph file photo

Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy today spoke about his spat with Vishal Sikka, the company's first non-founding  CEO who quit in 2017, and lamented about the "erosion of core values" and gave out figures about the former chief executive's raise. 

Murthy also said that the youth should speak the "blunt truth" that "this is not the kind of the country our forefathers had got the freedom for".

Murthy did not name Sikka, when he was asked in a St Xavier's College panel discussion about the path Infosys had taken after his retirement. 

But when he mentioned the "2014 CEO", it was clear he was speaking about Sikka, who was appointed to the post in June that year.

 "There was not a single word in public that I have spoken about the business strategy or the actions of the executive," Murthy said. "However, when the question of value systems we had built for over 33 years, making huge sacrifices (came up), when you see those value systems being thrown to (the) dustbin, then automatically the leaders in our society and country have to stand up and express their anguish and disappointment," he said. "Otherwise we would have allowed those mistakes to continue." 

He then elaborated, saying: (In) 2014 CEO was given 55 per cent hike on (salary of) 7 million USD....COO (then Chief Operating Officer Pravin Rao) was given 30 per cent hike. No middle-level fellow was given any salary increase." 

He said: "Security guards (were) told to work an extra day without increase in salary or overtime. I think that is a serious violation of values. Therefore, if somebody like me who built the company from scratch with the help of six junior colleagues, if I don't stand up for the erosion of the value systems, then I would have failed in our duty singularly." 

Sikka quit in 2017 after almost a year of public dispute with Murthy and other promoter shareholders.

At St Xavier's, Murthy also spoke about the country at large but refrained from naming names. "If you look at what is happening in different parts of the country today, it is time that we, especially the youth, stood up and said this is not the kind of the country our forefathers had got the freedom for."

He asked: "But how many of us are doing it? Nobody is doing it, sadly. That's the reason why this country is in this state that it is. Nobody wants to displease anybody by saying what is wrong."