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Infosys CFO Ranganath resigns, search for successor soon

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Ranganath

Bengaluru, Aug 18 (IANS) Infosys Chief Financial Officer (CFO) M.D. Ranganath has resigned and will continue in the executive post till November 16, the IT major said on Saturday.

“The Board of Directors accepted the resignation of Ranganath as the CFO and key managerial personnel. He will continue in the post till November 16. The Board will soon search for the next CFO,” said the city-based software firm in a statement here.

Claiming that he resigned to pursue professional opportunities in new areas, Ranganath said he had an 18-year successful career in the $10.9-billion global firm and as its CFO for the past three crucial years.

“I am grateful to the iconic firm for giving me an opportunity to serve as CFO. I am also proud that during its critical phase, we delivered strong financial outcomes, strengthened its competitive position and enhanced the value of its stakeholders,” said Ranganath in the statement.

Ranganath, 55, is the third CFO to leave Infosys in the last six years after then CFO V. Balakrishnan was elevated to the Board as a Director and head of the company’s back office operations (Infosys BPO) in October 2012.

Balakrishnan left Infosys subsequently in December 2013.

Rajiv Bansal, who succeeded Balakrishnan in November 2012, resigned from the high-profile executive post in October 2015 amid a raging controversy over governance issues between the company’s co-founders and previous Board of Directors.

Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy also objected to the hefty severance package given to Bansal, who was a party to the “costly” acquisition of the US-based Panaya software firm in February 2015 under the company’s first non-promoter Chief Executive Vishal Sikka, who too resigned on August 18, 2017.

According to the company’s 37th annual report, Ranganath’s annual compensation in fiscal 2017-18 was Rs 7.98 crore, including Rs 7.03 crore as salary, Rs 24 lakh as retrials and 71 lakh shares as stock options.

Ranganath, who owned 9,256 shares at the beginning of fiscal 2017-18, exercised 7,662 shares and held 16,918 cumulative shares at the end of last fiscal.

Commenting on the CFO’s contribution, co-founder and Board Chairman Nandan Nilekani said Ranganath had played a pivotal role in the company’s growth and success.

“During his 18-year long stint, I have seen Ranganath in leadership roles and delivering results with distinction. With him as CFO, the company had resilient financial performance, implemented capital allocation policy and earned respect of stakeholders for enhanced value creation,” said Nilekani.

Chief Executive Salil Parekh said that he worked with Ranganath over the past few quarters in shaping the company’s strategic direction.

“I admire Ranganath’s financial acumen, understanding of the company’s business and ability to deliver results. He played a crucial role and provided leadership. I am confident he will ensure a smooth transition,” added Parekh.

In a separate statement, Narayana Murthy said that Ranganath had worked with him for over 15 years and found him to him to be one of the best CFOs in the country.

“Ranganath’s ability to take tough decisions in challenging situations, his financial expertise, strong value system, unfailing courtesy and flawless execution always distinguished him as an exemplary leader and a key asset for Infosys,” said Murthy.

Lauding Ranganath for raising investor confidence in the company during the last five years by managing costs and margins, Murthy said the outgoing CFO was a rare individual who understood all stakeholders, including clients, delivery teams, employee aspirations, finance, investors, governance, law and the role of an ethical business.

“Ranganath is everything the idea of Infosys has always stood for. His departure is an irreplaceable loss for the company at this critical juncture. I wish him the best in his future endeavours, Murthy said.

As part of the leadership team, Ranganath has played key roles in consulting, finance, strategy, risk management and M&A (mergers and acquisitions) and worked with the board and its committees in formulating and executing the firm’s strategic priorities.

Ranganath was also the company’s chief risk officer from January 2008 to July 2013.

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Sensex, Nifty trade flat, auto stocks down

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Sensex equity Nifty

Mumbai, Feb 18: The Sensex and Nifty declined after opening on a flat to positive note on Monday led by selling in auto, IT and FMCG stocks.

The Sensex of the BSE opened at 35,831.18 from its previous close at 35,808.95 on Friday.

At 9.20 a.m., the Sensex traded at 35,794.97 lower by 13.98 points or 0.04 per cent.

The Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) opened slightly higher at 10,738.65A from it’s previous close on Friday.

The Nifty traded at 10,723.05 during the morning trade session, down 1.35 points and 0.01 per cent.

On Friday, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold shares to the tune of Rs 966.43 crore while the domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought Rs 853.25 crore worth of scrips.

IANS

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Business

Comprehensive plan prepared for BSNL’s revival: Government

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BSNL

New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) The government is making all efforts to make state-run BSNL robust and financially viable again and has prepared a comprehensive plan for its revival, an official said on Sunday, on the eve of a nationwide strike called by the employees unions over their demands.

BSNL employees and officers have given a three-day country-wide strike call from February 18 to highlight their long-pending issues, including allotment of 4G spectrum to the telecom major and wage revision for the workforce.

“All efforts are being made, and will continue to be made, to make BSNL robust and financially viable,” a Communications Ministry statement said.

“The main demands of the All India Unions and Associations of Bharat Sanchar Nigam (AUAB) include benefits to executives under the 3rd Pay Revision Committee (PRC) with 15 per cent fitment and to non-executives as per the 8th wage negotiations w.e.f. 1.1.2017, allotment of 4G spectrum to BSNL, revision of pension for BSNL retirees w.e.f. 1.1.2017 and delinking of same with pay revision for PRC implementation, and deduction of payment of pension contribution by BSNL on actual basic pay instead of on the highest level of the pay scale.

“Government wishes to re-emphasize that it will continue to engage with the BSNL management and representatives of the unions and associations, to support their reasonable demands, and to guide the organization towards a revival,” it said.

Noting that the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) is taking “positive steps” regarding each of these demands, the ministry said the issue of alloting 4G spectrum to BSNL is being referred to telecom regulator TRAI “to recommend on the issue of administrative allocation, quantum, price and appropriate frequency band”.

“Further action will be taken on receipt of the said recommendation. In parallel, a comprehensive proposal for revival of BSNL has been prepared, which will be taken up for consideration by competent authorities very soon.”

It also noted that a Coordination Committee comprising senior officers of the DoT, BSNL management, and representatives of AUAB is already working in this regard.

“Representatives of AUAB have also held meetings with the DOT Additional Secretary in which they have been duly apprised of the progress being made in relation to their demands,” the statement said.

It pointed out that the BSNL management has appealed to its employees not to resort to any agitation at this critical juncture when the organization is engaged in “sincere and serious efforts” to protect and enhance the company’s market share, “and when any disruption in services can only adversely impact the interests of BSNL and its customers, employees and other stakeholders.”

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Analysis

Rupee weakened against $ in choppy weekly trade

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India Rupee

Mumbai, Feb 17 (IANS) In a choppy week’s trade, the Indian currency weakened against the US dollar to close above the 71 a dollar mark on Friday, owing to a sharp rise in crude oil prices, turmoil in the equity markets and uncertainty around the US-China trade relations.

In what could translate into further trouble for the domestic currency, analysts see an upward move of 6 to 7 per cent in the Brent crude prices in the coming week.

The rupee lost heavily towards the end of the week – over 70 paise in the last three trading session – as traders reacted to the sanction on Venezuela and production cut by OPEC and Saudi Arabia.

Sajal Gupta, Head Fx & Rates Edelweiss, said “technically … crude now looks set for another 6-7 per cent rise” which would mean that the rupee was likely to depreciate further in the coming sessions. “And if Rs 71.80 per dollar is broken, we can head towards Rs 72.50 mark.”

Among other factors impacting the currency, Gupta said, with crude and dollar index giving breakout, rupee would remain under pressure. Trade deficit data released on Friday post market was also not very encouraging with monthly deficit touching almost 15 billion dollars.

“Political tensions would also remain heightened with key leaders vowing strong retaliation in wake of the biggest terror attack in the Kashmir valley.”

Explaining the factors which has caused volatility, Anindya Banerjee of Kotak said the currency markets largely depend on the capital flows … and right now the fear of a possible retaliation by the government in response to the Pulwama attack is having an affect.

“The context of the whole event is also important because (Lok Sabha) elections are around the corner,” Banerjee said.

Also, the currency losing against the dollar and rising crude oil prices was a double whammy for the bond markets, he added.

On the global front, discussing the factors affecting the currency, Banerjee said, the Chinese economy was very fragile right now and moreover investors were looking for developments in the US-China trade talks.

However, Gurang Somaiya, currency analyst, Motilal Oswal, felt that the rupee was protected from any major weakness as “Foreign Institutional Investment (FII’s) came around good”, especially in February.

According to data from the bourses, FII has seen inflows worth Rs 1,096 crore in February.

India on Friday revoked the Most Favoured Nation Status (MNS) of Pakistan and has warned that more stern actions will follow the attack in Pulwama. Additionally, equity markets have declined for 6 straight sessions showing weak investor sentiments.

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