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Vishal Sikka resigns as Infosys CEO after rift with founders

In a surprise announcement on Friday, Vishal Sikka resigned as CEO of IT giant Infosys, citing "increasingly personal" attacks by the company's founders. Shares in Infosys tanked following the news.

Vishal Sikka has resigned as the CEO of India-based outsourcing and information technology company Infosys, amid growing acrimony between the company's board and its founders.

The rift had grown to the point that Sikka claimed the "increasingly personal" attacks had hit morale at the company, which has been trying to keep pace with rapid changes in the industry.

"Over the last many months and quarters, we have all been besieged by false, baseless, malicious and increasingly personal attacks," Sikka said in a statement.

In his notice to the board, Sikka said he was leaving because of "a continuous stream of distractions and disruptions" that were hindering management of the company, whose share price plummeted immediately after Sikka's announcement.

Former chairman Narayana Murthy, one of the company's cohort of founders, claimed in a recent interview that some of the board members felt Sikka was more "CTO (Chief Technology Officer) material and not fit for the CEO position". 

Murthy and some other founders had also complained over salary issues and large compensation packages paid to some senior employees who had quit the company.

The Infosys board of directors accepted Sikka's resignation and appointed U.B. Pravin Rao as interim CEO and managing director.

A former member of the executive board at German software company SAP, Sikka took the top job at Infosys in 2014. He became the first non-founder CEO of the Bangalore-based company, which plans to create 10,000 jobs in the US in the coming years. 

Sikka's resignation comes at a time when Infosys, like others in the more than 128 billion euro ($150 billion) Indian IT services industry, is battling a slowdown in new deals from western clients and bracing for changes to visa rules in the United States, its top market, that could hike costs and dent profits.

Watch video 03:45

Talking artificial intelligence with Vishal Sikka

mds/hb (AFP, Reuters)

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