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Infosys investors endorse Sikka as new CEO

Bangalore, July 30 (IANS) Investors of Infosys Ltd. Wednesday approved a special resolution appointing Vishal Sikka as new chief executive and managing director from Aug 1 at the company’s extraordinary general meeting here.

The $8.3-billion company’s outgoing vice chairman and co-founder S. Gopalakrishnan presided over the meeting.

The shareholders also approved Sikka’s appointment as a whole-time director on the company’s board from June 14, 2014 to June 13, 2019 and its decision to pay a salary of $5.08 million (Rs.30.5 crore) with stock options (equity shares) valued at $2 million (Rs.12 crore) per annum.

The 47-year-old former SAP executive board member replaces Infosys co-founder S.D. Shibulal as the company’s first outsider chief executive.

Sikka’s compensation includes an annual base salary of $900,000 and an annual variable pay of $4.18 million.

The meeting also endorsed two other resolutions re-appointing K.V. Kamath and R. Seshasayee as independent directors.

“I am grateful to investors and humbled to be appointed as the company’s chief executive. I will continue to sustain the deep-rooted cultural values the company’s co-founders have created over the years,” Sikka told reporters after the meeting.

Noting that software was redefining the world by becoming all pervasive, Sikka said he would use the opportunity to serve the various industry verticals such as banking and financial services, manufacturing, energy, oil and gas and retail.

“I inherit the intuitive knowledge of the co-founders and their culture which is defined by processes, principles and planning. We will build new software by working with our customers. In manufacturing, software is making machines run automatically,” he said.

Asserting that the outlook for the IT services industry was good, Sikka expressed confidence in steering the company through the challenges it was facing and by leveraging the tremendous opportunities the new software was unfolding.

“The outlook for the IT services is good. I am confident of the future,” he said.

Though Sikka will continue to live in California on the US west coast where his family stays, he will travel to Bangalore as and when required by the company’s board.

“During this visit, I am going to the Infosys campus at Mysore (140 km from Bangalore), where we have a great university and knowledge centre. I will spend time with trainees and learn the extraordinary things the leadership institute has built,” he said.

Sikka, who quit SAP in May, was responsible for all products, including HANA, the German behemoth’s flagship analytic database platform, mobile and middle. He has a doctorate in computer science from Stanford University in the US.

Infosys co-founder and chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy and Gopalakrishnan stepped down from executive posts June 14 after the company’s 33rd annual general meeting here.

Murthy, who returned from retirement to head the company again June 1, 2013, will continue as non-executive chairman till Oct 10 and will be re-designated chairman emeritus in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the company.

Kamath will be the non-executive chairman of the board from Oct 11.

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