Three years after taking over as the MD and CEO of Infosys, Vishal Sikka has resigned from this role on the back of constant criticism, false allegations and ‘distraction’.
Following his resignation, Sikka wrote to his employees about his resignation and what led to this decision.
“After a lot of reflection, I have resigned from my position as your MD & CEO effective today. A succession process has been initiated, with Pravin serving as interim MD & CEO, and I will work closely with the Board and management team over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition,” he wrote.
He added that this decision has weighed on him for weeks while he wrestled the pros, cons, the issues and the counterbalancing arguments.
“It is clear to me that despite our successes over the last three years, and the powerful seeds of innovation that we have sown, I cannot carry out my job as CEO and continue to create value, while also constantly defending against unrelenting, baseless/malicious and increasingly personal attacks,” he wrote.
When he took over as MD and CEO in 2014, Sikka says that they started out with a very challenging set of condition and have decisively turned things around. It was a time when growth rates were low, attrition was high and there was a sense of apprehensions all around.
In the past three years, Sikka says that he is happy to see the company doing better in every dimension.
Revenues grew from $2.13B in Q1FY15 to $2.65B this past Q1. And this was done with a strong focus on margins, closing this past quarter at 24.1% operating margin, beating some competitors for the first time in many years.
Our attrition, he says, has fallen, from 23.4% in Q1FY15 to 16.9% this past Q1, and high performer attrition is hovering at or below the single-digit threshold for a while now.
The $100M+ clients of Infosys grew from 12 when he started, to 19. He went on to outline all the achievement Infosys has seen under his tenure including innovation, embracing new ideas, technologies like AI and immense satisfaction from clients.
“To complement this grassroots innovation, we’ve launched 25+ new services that contributed 8.3% of our revenue last quarter, up from zero in April 2015. And our own new software business is now at 1.6% of revenue. Our AI platform, Nia, now with 160+ scenarios deployed at more than 70 clients, is helping drive both automation within the company, and breakthrough new business scenarios outside,” he said.
However, while the company is on a transformation path, which has been a difficult journey, Sikka says that everyone needs to allow the company to move beyond the noise and distractions.
These distractions and the public noise, he says, has created an untenable atmosphere.
“Life is too short to engage in battles of opinions in the public, these add no value, take critical time and focus away from the business, and indeed add more to the noise, to the eardrum buzz, as I wrote to you a few months ago. The founding principle of the strategy I laid out for our renewal was personal empowerment, working in an entrepreneurial environment. I need this for my own work as well,” he wrote.
He says that he now needs to move forward and return to an environment of respect, trust and empowerment.
Apart from following his heart and intuition, Sikka wrote that he looks forward to spending some time with loved ones as well.
Sikka goes on to say that after completing three year, he has no regrets and despite all the noise, he wouldn’t trade his time at the company for anything.
He closed by thanking all his colleagues and the board and by urging all the employees to keep pushing the company towards newer things.
“Keep pushing yourself to do better at whatever you are good at, but also learning to do things you have never done before, indeed, nobody has ever done before. I know I will be doing the same.”
Read the complete letter here