Advisory firm IiAS wants Nilekani back at Infosys

| Updated on: Aug 18, 2017
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Proxy advisory firm IiAS, in a statement on Friday, has called for Nandan Nilekani to return to Infosys, now lacking a CEO, after Vishal Sikka resigned alleging continual criticism from outsiders and the company’s founders.

“Nandan Nilekani is possibly the very best candidate Infosys can find globally. He has kept pace with technology advances, has been instrumental in digitalising the country, and is well-networked with the bureaucracy and global leaders,” IiAS said.

“He also has skin in the game: having started with Infosys early in its journey, Nandan Nilekani will intuitively understand the corporate culture, and as such, also have ‘matching of minds’ with some of Infosys’ founders.

“He is best-positioned to shepherd the company as it finds a successor and reinvents itself. And, he possesses the stature to bring an end to the public discourse.”

Peace vs competence Also, the statement said, the search for a new CEO this time will be far more difficult. “Any potential candidate will be concerned about being watched and publicly criticised — an idea that cannot be pleasing to anyone on the outside. Given this, perhaps internal candidates that remain faithful to the old guard are an easy choice, but risks compromising competence for peace.”

“To our mind,” the statement continued, Nilekani “is the optimal solution,” given the multiple agendas the board and the company need to manage. The challenge is to convince Nandan Nilekani to return.

Nilekani, one of the founders of Infosys, was its CEO from March 2002 to April 2007. Since then, he spearheaded the Aadhaar card drive as Chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India and contested in the Lok Sabha elections of 2014 as a Congress candidate from the south Bengaluru constituency.

“Nilekani should not see this as any other corporate job: given that Infosys remains at the heart of Indian IT, the company’s success will foretell how the sector will position itself for the future.”

Published on January 27, 2018

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