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Corporate Governance Deviation – Infosys Case Study

Corporate Governance Deviation – Infosys Case Study

By CS Divija Dave
Calendar

Jun 03 rd 2021

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Corporate Governance Deviation – Infosys Case Study

 

About Infosys

Infosys Limited was started by a team of seven software engineers. It began its journey in 1981 as a software development organization. It opened the first international office in the USA in 1987. The major revenue of the company came from a dedicated offshore development centre. Later, it also started delivering its services in handling projects, dealing with the re-engineering, migration and maintenance of legacy systems to graduate to the client–server environment etc.

Infosys came out with an initial public offering in 1993 and became the first Indian IT company to get listed on the NASDAQ in 1999. It had a global presence with offices opened in UAE, the Netherlands, Argentina, Singapore and Switzerland. Mr. Narayan Murthy made a modest beginning by launching Infosys with six co-workers and a borrowed sum of US$250. In 2017 Infosys was an US$11.12 billion company to be listed on the NYSE, with a market capitalization of approximately US$42.2 billion and an employee strength of 209,000. It also became the first Indian software company to provide customized software in world markets.

Case Background

The major organizational transformation journey of Indian software bellwether firm, Infosys, from 2014 until 2017 under the leadership of first non-founder member. The entrepreneurial ambitions and zeal to grow through organic and inorganic moves saddled with lack of cognizance of corporate governance resulted in deviance leading to turmoil followed by the resignation of the CEO. The company values, the roles of founder members, institutional investors, shareholders and other aspects came under the scanner to understand the reasons behind the corporate governance deviance.

Though the Company got a clean chit against the corporate governance deviance charges, the conflict between the board of governors and founders, particularly the ex-CEO continued which culminated into the resignation of the CEO. What are the roles of founder members, board of governors, institutional investors and shareholders in case of corporate governance deviance?

Infosys had come a long way for its business model to deliver excellence along with its leadership to perform on corporate governance norms. Entering the second decade of the 2000s, the company’s profits declined. This was largely attributed to the increasing costs of labor in India and losing out to outsourcing. Profits also took a beating owing to sluggish western markets. Despite increasing labor costs and job-hopping in the software industry, Infosys’ leaders believed its strength lay with its people. Hence, employee development and job engagement were always a priority of the company. In spite of the innovation and burgeoning growth, critiques cautioned that the momentum of growth could not be sustained. With time, Infosys exhibited sluggish growth, and unstable leadership with as many as 13 exits from the senior management. A high pricing margin model and complex contracting procedures made the company struggle even to retain average industry growth rates. While client needs were changing in the global space, Infosys was struggling to innovate, diversify and transform. 

Impact

It was observed by many former associates of Infosys that company may have been known for good corporate governance standards in the past, but it displayed poor standards elsewhere. Under Mr. Murthy’s watch as an executive chairman, the company followed poor disclosure standards when it came to a significant profit warning that sent its stock down by over 8%. Similarly, a number of analysts and industry experts had raised eyebrows when Mr. Murthy decided to bring his son along when he was appointed executive chairman in 2013. The company’s former CFOs who were demanding that the company returns a larger proportion of cash back to shareholders seemed to have forgotten that Infosys had a history of holding on to cash, even under their watch. Some investors and also suggested that the new CEO must be given room to function freely and not bogged down by needless accusations. But being given freedom to function shouldn’t be used as a sanction for transactions that raise red flags. Besides, it wasn’t that Mr. Sikka had an outstanding run as a CEO. Infosys shares were only marginally better off since Mr. Sikka’s appointment was announced. Therefore, clearly, not all stakeholders were enamored by the new CEO.

Road Ahead

Boardroom turmoil often results in miscommunication and ineffective leadership. Deviance from corporate governance is disastrous for organizations in the long term. It is a direct challenge to trust and transparency and hurts the brand equity. It derails the long-term development of an organization. Dilemmas and choices are experienced by the leaders of the organizations. These often are major factors leading to deviance. A strong commitment and adherence to organizational logic in the interest of shareholders, stakeholders and organization should be enforced by the top management. Thus, understanding of corporate governance and circumstances that lead to the deviance is important.


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Category

  • All
  • Boardrooms
  • BOARDROOMS
  • Independent Directors
  • Role of Board
  • Mindset Shifts of Boards
  • Independent Directors and Promoters
  • Sustainability / ESG
  • business implication
  • employee exits
  • COMMITTEE MEETINGS
  • Union Budget
  • Independent Director
  • Grow with Governance
  • Grow with Governance
  • INDEPENDENT DIRECTOR
  • Entrepreneurial Board
  • ESG & ITS IMPORTANCE
  • leadership coaching
  • Change Management
  • Advisory Boards
  • Boards
  • Boardroom
  • Brand Yourself as a Leader of the Company
  • Kindness
  • Are you hesitant to speak in the Boardroom!
  • Governance & ESG
  • Directors
  • Independent Directors
  • Corporate Governance
  • Leader development
  • Gratitude, Purpose
  • decision making
  • Systematic Investment Plans in Emotional Intelligence
  • Corporate Governance
  • The Board’s Role in ESG!
  • Balance Boards
  • Agility and Compassion
  • Governance and Board
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Directors,Promoter Directors
  • Board Members, Directors and Independent Directors
  • Board and Senior Management
  • New Directors
  • Cyber Insurance
  • Salary Increment
  • Economy Growth
  • Human Resources
  • Generating Wealth Beyond Money
  • Agile Mindset for Leadership
  • Aspiring Independent Directors
  • Board Leadership
  • Corporate Governance & Women on Boards
  • BOARD MEMBER
  • SME
  • WOMEN DIRECTOR
  • BOARD MEMBERS

Archive

  • 2021
    • April (3)
      • Will you drive your vehicle without a dashboard?
      • Are you making SIPs to improve your Emotional Intelligence
      • Corporate Governance needs a Moral Compass – Ethics in Indian Boardrooms!
    • August (9)
      • Grow with Governance: ESG is the umbrella for CSR, says Vedanta's Roma Balwani
      • Grow with Governance: PadUp Ventures' Rajat Jain Demystifies Correlation of Governance and Economic Growth
      • Grow with Governance: Family governance impacts the culture of a family-run business, says Equations Advisors' Mita Dixit
      • Entrepreneurial Board
      • NEW REGULATORY PROVISIONS RELATED TO INDEPENDENT DIRECTORS
      • ESG & ITS IMPORTANCE FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF BOARD MEETING
      • Start early, don't wait till retirement to become an Independent Director, says Increate Value Advisors' Milind Sarwate
      • The winding road of leadership coaching in the post-pandemic era
      • Challenges of Organizational Culture Change
    • February (4)
      • Re-examination of Purpose by the Boards in Post -Pandemic Era
      • What Makes Great Boards Great! Performance Evaluation by Boards and Role of Independent Directors
      • Promoter Director – Time to become Custodian of Governance!
      • Diversity and Inclusion – The Board Perspective!
    • January (2)
      • New Directors - Have you done your due diligence
      • Cyber Security Insurance and Boards
    • July (7)
      • Why Advisory Boards Are Important for Indian Business Corporates?
      • Grow with Governance: ESG essential to repair the damage economic activities caused to the earth, says CA Shailesh Haribhakti
      • Top 10 areas to contribute in Boards as Independent Directors
      • Top 10 Questions to Ask in Boardrooms!
      • Essential HOWs of Boardroom!
      • Kindness is key
      • How to Brand Yourself as a Leader of the Company?
    • June (6)
      • Leading from the Boardroom
      • Are you hesitant to speak in the Boardroom!
      • The Neem Project a Leadership case study
      • Directors Liability in India
      • Why do promoters need Independent Directors?
      • Corporate Governance Deviation – Infosys Case Study
    • March (4)
      • Board Refreshment: Finding the Right Balance for your Board!
      • HR Governance and Board – How Important Is It?
      • Agility and Compassion: Two Pillars for Boards in the Post Pandemic Era!
      • Modernizing Governance: The Board’s Role in ESG!
    • May (3)
      • Restructuring appraisals in 2021 – Gratitude, Purpose & Meritocracy
      • How do you make your personal Brand?
      • Leadership Coaching: How does it help Leaders
    • October (2)
      • Are Independent Director’s required on the Board?
      • 'Ethics & Governance' lesson should start from school, says Federal Bank's Independent Director, Sankarshan Basu
    • September (3)
      • Grow with Governance: As an Independent Director ensure your voice is heard, says Apurva Purohit
      • Grow with Governance: Push for ESG agenda; pool CSR funds to maximise impact, says Ranganath NK, former MD of Grundfos Pumps
      • Grow with Governance: Boards should prepare companies for different risks, says National Insurance Academy's G Srinivasan
  • 2020
    • August (4)
      • WOMEN DIRECTOR-An Emerge
      • ARE YOUR BOARD MEMBERS SAVVY WITH FINANCIAL TERMS AND EXCEL IN FINANCIAL LITERACY QUOTIENT AS PER COMPANIES ACT 2013 MANDATES.
      • BOARD MEMBER SELECTION- A TASK OF PERFECTION
      • SME IPO – AN OPPORTUNITY TO CAPITALIZE YOUR BUSINESS
    • December (3)
      • Good or bad, Salary Increments always cause a heartburn among employees
      • Is Economic Progress Enough?
      • Emotional Intelligence
    • November (3)
      • Generating Wealth Beyond Money
      • "Agile Mindset for Leadership"
      • Tips for Aspiring Independent Directors
    • September (3)
      • Independent Director
      • Lean Thinking Boards
      • Corporate Governance & Women on Boards
  • 2022
    • August (1)
      • Liability of Independent Directors – An Important Aspect of Corporate Governance
    • February (4)
      • A Hero's Farewell: How to handle employee exits with dignity
      • Green Bonds: An Instrument for Financing a Sustainable Future
      • Tool for effectiveness of Board Committees - Ask Right Questions
      • Russia-Ukraine war and India’s Business Implication
    • July (2)
      • Stagnation or Evolution – Mindset Shifts of Boards when Company sees Stagnated Growth
      • Risk Assessment and Minimization Procedures – Role of Board
    • March (2)
      • A study on Sustainability Report of Container Shipping Companies.
      • India and The ESG impact of Crypto Currencies
    • May (1)
      • Independent Directors liability under GST
    • November (1)
      • Workplace Sexual Harassment and the Role of Board
    • October (2)
      • How many Boards are too many?
      • Women in Indian Boardrooms Vs Diversity = Inversely Proportionate
    • September (2)
      • Organizing for the Future – Important keys to becoming future ready
      • Are you ready to serve on the Board?