Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani returns as non-Executive Chairman

Bengaluru: Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani on Thursday returned to the global software major as non-Executive Chairman of the Board with immediate effect.

“The Board of Directors has appointed Nandan Nilekani as a non-executive, non-independent Director and as the Chairman of the Board of Directors,” said the IT major in a regulatory filing on the BSE.

The Board accepted the resignation of R. Seshsayee as its Chairman and as a Director on the Board with immediate effect, as well of Co-Chairman Ravi Venkatesan though he continues as an Independent Director and Executive Vice-Chairman Vishal Sikka with immediate effect.

Resignations of Directors Jeffery S. Lehman and John Etchemendy were also accepted.

Nilekani, 62, who was CEO of Infosys from March 2002 till April 2007 and its Vice-Chairman, quit the company in 2009 to head the Unique Identification Authority of India as its first Chairman till May 2014.

“Nilekani is an iconic leader, a successful entrepreneur and investor, and someone who has played a pivotal role in the country’s transition to a digital economy,” said the company in a statement.

Expressing happiness on returning to the company, Nilekani said he looked forward to working with his colleagues on the Board and in executive management on the business opportunities and delivering benefits to its clients, investors, employees and communities.

“The Board will consider a shareholder consultation process as a critical part of its overall engagement initiatives with all stakeholders that are being taken up on a priority basis,” he said.

He also thanked Sika for his service as the CEO over the last three years and wished him well in his future endeavours.

Welcoming Nilekani, Seshasayee stated that Nandan was the ideal leader for the company at this stage of its development.

“Nilekani’s appointment will allow the company to focus on the strategic changes it needs to make to capitalise on the opportunities in the years ahead. Under him, Infosys will build a cohesive management team that will take it to a leadership position in the industry,” he said.

Sikka said the company had found an ideal leader to manage the transition, as he would guide the firm to new frontiers of success.

“Last week I said that my remaining on the Board was to enable a smooth transition. In Nandan, we have found an ideal leader to manage this transition,” said Sikka, who resigned on August 18 as CEO and Managing Director three years after joining on August 1, 2014.

Lehman, who was to retire from the Board in April 2018, said with Sikka’s departure, the company was entering into a stage in which the time demands on independent directors would be compounded.

“In light of 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,” he said.

U.B. Pravin Rao, who will continue as Interim CEO and MD, said he was pleased to welcome back Nilekani.

“The Board will continue with its earlier stated plan to identify a permanent CEO and MD,” he added Rao.