Infosys chairman Nandan Nilekani. Photo: Reuters
Infosys chairman Nandan Nilekani. Photo: Reuters

A year-long turf war within Infosys Ltd, India’s second largest software services exporter, between its founders and the company CEO and board members over corporate governance drew to a close with the former establishing their supremacy.

Infosys’ co-founder Nandan Nilekani has been appointed non-executive chairman of the company. It also ended the company’s three-year long experiment of an independent board and a professional chief executive at the company.

Things reached an inflection point last Friday when the company’s first non-founder chief executive Vishal Sikka quit citing personal attacks and “continuous stream of disruptions.” Infosys board blamed co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy’s “continuous assault and misguided campaign” for Sikka’s exit.

The founders, led by Murthy, have been questioning Sikka and the board over issues related to recent acquisitions by the company and compensation package of top executives.

Nilekani’s return on Thursday also forced the exit of board Chairman R. Seshasayee and two more board members — Jeffrey Lehman and John Echtemendy. However, co-chairman Ravi Venkatesan will return to his role as independent director.

Nilekani was the CEO of Infosys from 2002 to 2007. Later he quit the company to head the Indian Government’s Unique Identification Authority of India project.

Infosys was founded in 1981 by Murthy, Nilekani, S. Gopalakrishnan, S.D. Shibulal, K. Dinesh, N.S. Raghavan and Ashok Arora. It grew into an information technology powerhouse by 2000 and was instrumental in turning India into a global software outsourcing hub.