Anguished Murthy refutes Infosys’ Board charges

Aug 19, 2017 0

Bengaluru– Anguished by the allegations, tone and tenor of the Infosys Board against him, its founder N.R. Narayana Murthy on Friday said it was below his dignity to respond to such “baseless insinuations”.

“I have read the statement issued by the Infosys Board of Directors. I am anguished by the allegations, tone and tenor of its statements,” said Murthy in an e-mail to the media hours after the software major’s Chief Executive Vishal Sikka resigned earlier in the day.

Reiterating that he voluntarily left the Board in 2014 and was not seeking money, position for (his) children or power, the 70-year-old Murthy said he was concerned over the deteriorating standard of corporate governance, which he had brought to the notice of the Board.

“Several shareholders who have read the whistleblower report have told me that it is hard to believe a report produced by a set of lawyers hired by a set of accused, giving a clean chit to the accused and the accused refusing to disclose why they got a clean chit!,” observed Murthy.

Murthy referred to the international auditors’ report which in June said it found no wrongdoing by the company or its Board directors in the acquisition of the US-based software firm Panaya for $200 million in February 2015.

N.R. Narayana Murthy

Asserting that he would reply to the Board’s allegations in the right manner, in the right forum and at the appropriate time, Murthy quoted investors saying that the auditors’ probe into the Panaya deal was not the way an impartial and objective investigation should be held.

“We found no evidence to support any of the new allegations in the complaints of wrongdoing by the company or its directors and employees,” said the IT major in a statement here, quoting the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and consultancy Control Risks, which investigated the two complaints by a whistle-blower to the Indian market regulator SEBI in February.

The whistleblower complained to the market regulator Securities Exchange of India (SEBI) in two e-mails on February 12 and February 19 that the company’s executives had personal interests in buying the automation technology firm (Panaya), which offers enterprise software management as a service to its global clients.

“There were no conflict of interest or kickbacks, required approvals for the acquisition were obtained, due diligence was conducted, valuations of the target companies done by an outside financial advisor were reasonable and the purchase prices were within the range of values determined by that advisor,” asserted the investigators.

Blaming Murthy for Sikka’s resignation, the Board in a statement said the founder’s continuous assault, including the latest letter, was the primary reason for the former’s resignation despite strong Board support.

Noting that a letter by Murthy attacking the integrity of the Board and the management for the alleged falling corporate governance standards was doing the rounds in the media, the company said the Board took umbrage to its contents.

“Murthy’s letter contains factual inaccuracies, already-disproved rumours and statements extracted out of context from his conversations with Board members,” asserted the company.

“Murthy’s campaign against the Board and the company has had the unfortunate effect to undermine its efforts to transform. The Board has been engaged in a dialogue with him to resolve his concerns over the year, trying to find solutions within the law and without compromising its independence. These dialogues have unfortunately not been successful,” noted the statement.

Declining to speculate on Murthy’s motive for carrying out his campaign, the Board believed it must clarify the false and misleading charges, as they were damaging the company and misrepresented its commitment to good corporate governance.

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Sweden emerging as potential market for Indian IT firms

Aug 10, 2017 0

New Delhi–Sweden is set to emerge as a potential market for the Indian IT-BPM sector, a new report said on Thursday.

The report by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom), along with Business Sweden, a partly government-owned company, and research firm Radar Ecosystem, underlines key driving areas that make Sweden a potential IT hub that could be of special interest to Indian IT companies.

“India and Sweden’s IT ecosystem have a mutual affinity for each other — with both the countries at the threshold of digitisation, opening multiple opportunities for the countries to collaborate,” said Nasscom President R Chandrashekhar in a statement.

Nasscom President R. Chandrashekhar

According to the report titled ‘Sweden a key driver of Nordic ICT growth’, Sweden has been identified as the country with 40 per cent of the total share of the Nordic countries’ IT spend — that is $23 billion in 2016-17.

The central market trend reflected in Sweden is the drive for digitisation just like Indian markets.

Sweden currently has 150 per cent smart device penetration, which is among the highest in Europe with 14.6 million devices and is witnessing the adoption of new delivery models, such as Cloud-computing and offshore delivery.

Internet of Things (IoT) is also increasingly penetrating in the vehicle, health, banking and logistics space.

The report predicted that the value of the consulting market is expected to grow by 3.6 per cent to a total value of $6.65 billion by 2017.

Sweden has adopted a ‘Digital First’ strategy similar to ‘Digital India’ which aims to create a public e-government system that meets citizen, organisation and private sector expectations.

The country is home to several notable companies like Truecaller, Candy Crush, Skype and Spotify, the report said.

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Infosys to acquire digital studio in London

Aug 3, 2017 0

Bengaluru–Global software major Infosys on Thursday said it would acquire the London-based digital studio Brilliant Basics for an unspecified amount.

“The acquisition of Brilliant Basics represents our commitment to expand our worldwide connected network of digital studios, which are focused on fulfilling the needs of our global clients for digital transformation solutions,” said the IT major in a statement here.

The acquisition is expected to close during this quarter (July-September).

The customer experience studio is known for design thinking-led approach and experience in executing global programmes.

“Adding the studio’s design and customer experience capabilities has proven to be invaluable, helping us close large deals with a blend of skills,” said the company’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer S. Ravi Kumar in the statement.

The studio will enable the company to drive digital transformation solutions, which connect its clients’ systems of record to new systems of engagement.

“Being a member of the Infosys family allows us to enhance and scale the offering for our clients, as the software major has a unique vision and approach to partnership and acquisition,” said Brilliant Basics Founder and Chief Executive Anand Verma.

Besides in London, Basics has a studio at Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

With its digital studios the world over, including in Bengaluru, Pune, New York, London and Melbourne, the outsourcing firm will enhance its domain expertise with Basics in the financial services, retail and telco sectors across Europe and West Asia. (IANS)

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NTT Communications to invest $160 million for new data centers in India

Jul 27, 2017 0

New Delhi– IT and telecom services provider NTT Communications on Thursday announced plans to invest more than $160 million for its data centre expansion in India.

The company, which is part of Japan-based Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Group, launched international data network services through its affiliate NTT Communications India Network Services (NTTCINS) to meet the growing digital demand in the country.

To become operational by April 2018, the two new data centres are located in Mumbai and Bengaluru, the construction of which was initiated by Netmagic, the company’s subsidiary.

“India has been a key strategic market for us with the accelerating shift of IT services from traditional enterprise data centres into the Cloud-based services,” said Tetsuya Shoji, President and CEO, NTT Communications, in a statement.

“With further expansion of data centre footprint and addition of international data network services to our service portfolio, we aim to meet the growing market needs for mobility, e-Commerce, Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud and Big Data,” Shoji added.

The data centres in Mumbai and Bengaluru will add nearly 500,000 square feet of gross floor space, accommodating 2,750 racks per 22MW power and 1,500 racks per 15MW power respectively.

The company acquired ‘Virtual Network Operator – International Long Distance’ (VNO-ILD) network licence in March this year. (IANS)

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Infosys board to face investors’ heat at annual general body meeting

Jun 23, 2017 0

By Fakir Balaji

Bengaluru–The 36th Annual General Meeting of troubled software major Infosys Ltd on Saturday is likely to be stormy, as retail investors brace for a showdown with its board on corporate governance and performance issues.

“The board and top management will face the heat of shareholders, unhappy with the way the company is being run, especially on governance and its performance in 2016-17,” a retail investor told IANS on Friday ahead of the AGM here.

Coming as it does amid board-room battles between promoters and the board, especially Executive Chairman R. Seshasayee and CEO Vishal Sikka on governance and wages, the meet is important in light of the lower revenue outlook for this fiscal (2017-18), tech disruptions and slowdown in the IT industry due to global headwinds.

“You can expect fireworks at the meeting from retail and some institutional investors as the company’s image or brand equity took a beating after co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy voiced concerns over governance and other issues, which are affecting its operations and business prospects,” said the investor, who did not want to be identified.

Declaring financial results for the last fiscal on April 13, the company gave a lower revenue outlook of 6.1-8.1 per cent in dollar terms for 2017-18 from 7.4 per cent ($10.2 billion) annual growth last year.

In rupee terms, the revenue growth is projected to be 2.5-4.5 per cent as against 9.7 per cent (Rs.68,484 crore) annual growth in last fiscal.

The lower guidance stemmed from flat (0.2 per cent) net profit growth and 0.9 per cent revenue growth in the fourth quarter in rupee terms over last year.

“The bitter fight between the promoters and the board over the last four months has been a major distraction for the company and its stakeholders. There is a trust deficit between the board and promoters and between the top management and employees. The friction will have a bearing on its services and growth prospects,” said another long-term investor, who was also on the board as a director till 2013.

Admitting that Infosys was facing challenges due to uncertainties, slowdown and disruptive technologies, Head Hunters India Managing Director K. Lakshmikanth said though promoters may not confront the board at the AGM to avoid embarrassment, activist shareholders would certainly seek explanations on issues like governance and higher wages for top executives Murthy had raised.

“With a combined 12 per cent share-holding, the promoters are entitled to have one of them on the board as a director. It appears neither the board offered nor the co-founders asked for it to safeguard their interests. Other shareholders and institutional investors may ask the board to appoint any of them for the sake of the company’s welfare,” Lakshmikanth told IANS.

Though the notice for the AGM has four ordinary resolutions, including re-appointment of whole-time Director U.B. Pravin Rao and appointment of auditors, some investors are likely to seek revamp of the board, especially the ouster of Seshasayee as its Chairman for being unable to rein in Sikka.

“There is a perception that Seshasayee is unable to guide the company as he lacks expertise in the IT industry and is not able to control Sikka from profligacy and hiring top executives from other firms at fancy salaries,” said Lakshmkinath, adding that Director Ravi Venkatesan, a former Microsoft India head, was made co-chairman recently to provide leadership to the management team.

While the board has paid a total dividend of 495 per cent or Rs 25.75 per share of Rs 5 face value for 2016-17 and hinted at buyback of the company’s shares during this fiscal up to Rs 13,000 crore ($2 billion), investors are unhappy with its stock price (Rs 943.35 on Friday) at a three-year low. (IANS)

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IT sector employees urge Karnataka to stop “illegal layoffs”

Jun 5, 2017 0

Bengaluru– The Karnataka government on Monday said it is contemplating legal aid to information technology sector employees in the state after they called for action to stop “illegal” layoffs in this crucial service industry.

“Some members of the employees’ associations met me today (Monday). I assured them of all help. I advised them to bring all representatives of IT employees associations to the next meeting to discuss their problems,” Information and Technology Minister Piryank Kharge said.

The Forum for IT Employees members met the Minister at Vikasa Soudha here and appealed to him to intervene to stop, what they called, “illegal layoffs by IT companies”. The forum claimed 56,000 layoffs across the country.

“I told them I need to talk with all stakeholders before taking a decision. I will talk to the employers as well as staff representatives. I cannot take a decision without holding talks with all stakeholders,” the Minister said.

He said he advised the Forum for IT Employees to help the state government understand their problems.

“The state government has no legal power to intervene in this matter but that doesn’t stop the government from looking at options to mitigate IT employees’ problems,” Kharge said.

Rajesh Natarajan of the Forum for IT Employees Bengaluru Chapter said they had submitted a petition seeking reconsideration of the state government’s decision to exempt IT companies from the purview of labour laws and bring IT companies under the Industrial Disputes Act.

“We urged hiim to take steps to prevent arbitrary layoffs by IT companies. Around 56,000 IT sector employees have lost their jobs across the country,” Natarajan said.

He said the Minister has not fixed any time for the next meeting.

“We will prepare a list of our demands and submit to him in the next meeting,” he said. (IANS)

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Wipro promoters not envisaging sale: Azim Premji

Jun 5, 2017 0

New Delhi–Wipro Chairman Azim Premji on Monday said that company’s promoters are not envisaging sale of their holdings.

“The news article about promoters of Wipro evaluating sale of their holding in the company is baseless and malicious. There is no truth to these unsubstantiated rumours,” Premji said in a letter to the company’s employees.

“I continue to be incredibly excited about the potential of the IT industry and Wipro. I see enormous energy within the company to power the success of our clients and therefore the success of Wipro,” he added. (IANS)

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Telangana achieves IT exports of Rs 85,470 crore

Jun 1, 2017 0

Hyderabad–Telangana achieved IT/ITES exports of Rs 85,470 crore in 2016-17, clocking a growth rate of 13.85 per cent over the previous fiscal, the government announced on Thursday.

Information Technology Minister K.T. Rama Rao told the media that the growth in IT and IT Enabled Services exports was 4 percent higher than the national average of 10 per cent.

Telangana’s IT sector, 98-99 per cent of which is located in Hyderabad, provided employment to an additional 24,506 professionals, taking the total workforce to 431,891.

The minister released the annual report of IT, Electronics and Communications department on the eve of the third formation day celebrations of Telangana.

Rao said Telangana was on track to achieve IT exports of Rs 120,000 crore and 8 lakh jobs in the sector by 2020.

Stating that the growth in IT exports was higher than the national average for a third consecutive year, he said that in 2013-14 the exports totalled Rs 57,000 crore.

“At that time we had said we are targeting to double the exports and direct employment by 2020. We are on course to achieve this,” he said, adding that indirect employment will jump up to 20 lakh.

The minister claimed that the growth rate in both the exports and direct employment proved wrong all the negative and gloomy stories about the IT industry.

Referring to the layoffs by some IT firms, he reiterated that it was a common practise in the industry that some people are let-off while new people are recruited. (IANS)

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TCS partners with Nexperia to build digital core

May 25, 2017 0

New Delhi– Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on Thursday announced partnership with semiconductor company Nexperia to transform its applications and infrastructure services.

Through this partnership, Nexperia aims to enhance TCS’ digital core through its end-to-end enterprise application stack hosted on the TCS Cloud.

“TCS’ expertise in the Semiconductor industry coupled with its deep contextual knowledge of the parent company, positions us strongly to drive immense value for Nexperia,” said V. Rajanna, Vice President of TCS, in a statement.

As part of the engagement, TCS will also deliver in-memory analytics through the TCS cloud, enabling Nexperia to gain deeper business insights and support the company.

“Being a strong leader in the world of discrete components, it becomes pertinent for us to consistently deliver reliable and innovative products to our customers,” said Sabyasachi Bose, Chief Information Officer Nexperia.

“TCS provides single point of accountability, offers scalability and flexibility to quickly adapt to changing business needs,” he added.

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IT industry sees 24 percent fall in hiring in April: Survey

May 22, 2017 0

New Delhi–With top IT firms laying off professionals, the IT-software industry was hit the most with a 24 per cent fall in hiring in April this year as compared to April 2016, according to a survey by job site

“The overall job market saw an 11 per cent fall in new jobs, with IT-software industry most hit. IT-Software industry was hit the most with a 24 per cent decline in hiring in April as compared to April 2016,” the Naukri Job Speak Index said.

April jobs index saw year-on-year fall in major metros — Delhi/NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai, it added.

Hiring activity saw a fall in telecom, BPO, insurance and construction sectors during April as compared to April 2016.

Key industries like construction and BPO/ITES saw a 10 per cent and 12 per cent fall, respectively, while banking saw a 11 per cent increase in hiring during April 2017 as compared to April 2016, it said.

Commenting on the report, V. Suresh, Chief Sales Officer, said: “As predicted earlier, job market continues to be volatile and the Jobspeak index in April has shown a negative growth of 11 per cent (YOY).”

“Though major negative impact seems to be in sectors like IT/BPO/telecom/insurance and construction, there seems to be an air of caution across all sectors and this volatility is likely to continue for a few more months before the markets could move north again.”

Six out of the eight metro cities tracked saw a decrease in hiring activity in April.

The index for Delhi/NCR, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru saw a dip of 28 per cent, 18 per cent, 29 and 28 per cent, respectively, while Kolkata and Ahmedabad saw an increase of 10 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively, as compared to April, 2016, the survey noted.

The maximum number of new jobs (3 per cent month-on-month) were created in the 0-3 years’ category.

Senior management hiring fell, with jobs for 13-16 years of experience witnessing a fall of 2 per cent when compared with March, 2017.

While hiring in junior management remained buoyant, mid-management hiring (8-12 years of experience) witnessed a decrease of 3 per cent during April. (IANS)

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