Bangalore: Infosys chairman R Seshasayee on Monday sought to allay concerns over former CFO Rajiv Bansal’s severance pay, but admitted that the “judgement” could have differed if circumstances were different or if certain processes had been in place.
“At that time, it was a business judgement, there was an application of mind by the board and it was agreed to be paid. In retrospect, I have no hesitation in saying perhaps that judgement would have been different if circumstances were different or if the processes had been there,” Mr Seshasayee said speaking about Mr Bansal whose hefty severance package has drawn flak from founders like N R Narayana Murthy.
Mr Bansal’s severance package – amounting to Rs. 17.38 crore – equalled 24 months of pay.
Mr Seshasayee clarified that out of the agreed Rs. 17.38 crore, Infosys had paid Mr Bansal only Rs. 5 crore so far, with the remaining amount being withheld pending clarifications on the terms of the severance contract.
Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka said Mr Bansal’s exit was mutually agreed upon as there were “team chemistry issues” with him.
Mr Seshasayee added that while the concerns raised about the hefty amount are valid, the allegations of it being “hush money” were “deeply disturbing”.
He conceded that there was “subjectivity” in determining the amount of Mr Bansal’s severance package.
“It was a judgement. The management made some judgement about this and the board thought the judgement was right,” he added.
However, the company reviewed the said policy and made changes.
“So, the learning from there was that subjectivity should be taken away and then, we went on for a process change by which we looked at, through a consultant, what is the severance payable for different geographies and for different executive positions,” he said.
He emphasised that with “subjectivity” being taken away in severance packages, there will be “no more Rajiv Bansal-like situation” at the company, going ahead.