Infosys shares rise on reports co-founder Nilekani may return to board

By | August 24, 2017

A file photo of Nandan Nilekani speaking to the media at the Infosys campus in Bengaluru.

Shares in Infosys rose for a third straight day on Thursday, following reports that former chief executive Nandan Nilekani could return to the board to help the software services exporter ride out its latest controversy.

The board has been locked in a dispute for months with the company’s founders, led by former chairman Narayana Murthy, who have accused the directors of governance lapses. Vishal Sikka resigned as CEO last week amid what he said were “baseless/malicious and increasingly personal attacks” – sparking a sell-off and wiping billions of dollars off the firm’s market value.

The stock soared 2.71 per cent to an intra-day high of Rs 918.80 on the BSE. It had opened at Rs 907.

On the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the scrip jumped by 2.85 per cent to the day’s high of Rs 918.25.

The surge comes a day after as many as 12 fund managers, representing institutional investors at Infosys, have suggested bringing Nilekani back on the board of the IT major to restore confidence of stakeholders and help resolve the leadership crisis.

This is the second major pitch for Nilekani after an investor advisory firm IiAS said the co-founder, who had served as CEO between March 2002 to April 2007 and later went on to head the UIDAI, should be brought back on to the Infosys board as its non-executive chairman.

The 12 fund mangers, in a joint letter according to sources written to Infosys chairman, among others, said Nilekani enjoys confidence of various stakeholders, including customers, shareholders and employees.

“Given his credentials, we feel that his joining the board at this stage will restore confidence of stakeholders in the company and also facilitate resolution of the contentious issues that Infosys is facing presently. We do hope that you will consider the above and do the needful,” said the signatories of the letter.

The company’s stock had crashed 10 per cent last Friday after shock exit of Vishal Sikka as CEO and 5 per cent more on Monday despite a share buyback announcement on Saturday.