Second whistleblower fires more salvos at Infosys CEO


By Sharon Thambala

Bengaluru, Nov 12 (IANS): Unleashing a barrage of charges against Infosys Chief Executive Officer Salil Parekh, the second whistleblower fired more salvos at him, with the allegations ranging from his unaccounted travels to grabbing the company's sponsored vantage point seats at the ATP tournaments for personal use.

"Salil Parekh keeps vising the US every month in order to retain his Green Card status. I have also heard that he has on several occasions gone to the US but has not visited any client or our offices. Then, what is the purpose of his visits? It is evident that he is telling you a lie," said the whistleblower in an unsigned and undated letter to the company's Chairman and co-founder Nandan Nilekani and Independent Directors on the Board.

Claiming to be an employee in the company's finance department, the whistleblower complained that he was unable to disclose his identity fearing retaliation for the damning disclosures he was making against Parekh.

"I am an employee working in the finance department. I am submitting this whistleblower complaint as the matter is so volatile that I fear retaliation if I disclose my identity. Please excuse me for the same, but the matter is of grave importance," said the employee in the complaint, accessed by IANS through sources on Monday night.

In a belated response on the second whistleblower's letter to the board, the city-based Infosys on Tuesday told IANS in an e-mail that "the undated whistleblower's complaint largely deals with allegations relating to the CEO's international travels to the US and Mumbai.

"One board member received two anonymous complaints on September 30, one dated September 20, titled 'Disturbing unethical practices' and the second undated with the title 'Whistleblower Complaint'," said the company, attributing the admission to Nilekani's statement on October 21-22.

Attacking the second non-promoter CEO after Vishal Sikka, the whistleblower alleged that Parekh was abusing his high office to endear himself to high profile universities in the US, promising donations with a view to guaranteeing admissions to his children.

"He (Parekh) is also using the connections of the company's Global Academic Relations (GAR) team to secure seats in reputed institutions for his children," the whistleblower claimed.

As part of the industry-academia relationship, the GAR team liaises the company's links with top universities the world over, as part of InStep, its flagship internship programme.

According to the aggrieved Infoscion, a woman employee is renowned for proudly bragging internally about Parekh's academic exploits with the American universities.

"This is a gross violation and misuse of his power and Infosys finances. You may want to trigger an investigation to see all the locations visited by the CEO, institutions where Infosys has invested and why?" the complainant said.

The whistleblower also said it was shameful of Parkeh to "project" his performance and grab 108 per cent bonus in April 2019, way before other subordinates who toiled and received bonus only in the range of 70-90 per cent in July/August 2019.

"How fair is that? Earlier, the founders would always ensure that all the people who worked hard would get rewarded and only then accept anything themselves. This is a huge let down," the complaint noted.

Referring to the concessions offered to Parekh by the Nominations and Remuneration Committee (NRC), the whistleblower alleged that the CEO's stock vesting lock-in period had been advanced to the end of first year than the three-year lock-in period agreed initially.

"This was even taken up as a resolution that was passed at the annual general meeting (AGM) in June 2019. This is a very unfair practice and needs to be reversed," asserted the whistleblower.

Targetting Parekh's personal ethics, the complainant alleged that the CEO is a liar who sets up individuals against each other and seldom documents his decisions.

"Instead of building a strong team and lead it, he (Parekh) indulges in creating confusion between the people by playing petty politics. He is operating through SMS and Whatsapp instructions and mostly over phone," alleged the damning letter.

Claiming Parekh was one who does not even keep a record of his Microsoft Outlook calendar, and someone who skips committee meetings, the whistleblower questioned if Infosys needs such a chief executive at all.

"When all the senior people in the company are sufficient to run the company, why do we need such an unprofessional person to occupy a high chair?" asked the whistleblower.

Revealing the IT major's association with the ATP, the complainant said the company spent nearly $4 million (Rs 29 crore) in sponsorship deals, offering Infosys vantage point seats in the front of the court at leading tournaments, meant to entertain its guests such as top client officials.

"These seats are demanded and taken by Parekh and his sons. Important customers are denied these seats. This is a complete misuse of power and dilution of our value systems," lamented the whistleblower.

The complainant also advised the investigators to check the tennis tournament footage in Paris and New York for unearthing the evidence against Parekh's misdeeds.

"This needs to be investigated as well and actions taken, including recovery of the costs from the erring CEO," reiterated the letter.

  

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