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KIRAN MAZUMDAR SHAW TO LEAD INFY CEO SEARCH, TO ALSO TAP ALUMNI

BENGALURU: Nandan Nilekani, the non-executive chairman of Infosys, said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw will lead the search of the new chief executive as head of the nominations and remunerations committee, whose responsibility will also include search for new board members.

Infosys board, which till a few days ago had 11 members, saw a dramatic churn on Thursday when four of its members, including erstwhile non-executive chairman R Seshasayee and executive vice chairman Vishal Sikka resigned with immediate effect after Nilekani joined. Co-chairman Ravi Venkatesan also stepped down though he remained as an independent director while others survived.

“We have an excellent nominations committee headed by Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw. Kiran and the committee will drive the CEO selection, at the same time it will come out with the plan of the board composition and we will look for individuals who will fit the frame,” Nilekani said in an analyst call on Friday.

He explained that the company will “cast a wide net for the CEO search,” which will include internal and external candidates as well as tapping into the huge pool of Infosys alumni across the globe “who have reached high levels.”

“Our goal is to find somebody who has the expertise in managing a large global corporation, who can accelerate the execution of our strategy, has strong appreciation of the cultural transformation that is required and firm technology prowess and is able to build and strengthen relationships with all stakeholders.”

“I am quite convinced with the stability we have brought in the company, and we have a clear plan… we expect a large number of internal and external candidates to apply for this very exciting position,” the architect of Aadhar said.

Infosys said it will take about a year for the current board, which comprises of eight members, to decide what its profile should be. “We will do a systematic search of the board members who bring the complimentary strength skill and stature to the board, that is something I expect the nomination committee to work on, and I hope we will be able to quickly come up with a plan there. I want to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of all parties so that there are no corporate governance lapses.” Nilekani added.

NANDAN NILEKANI: NARAYANA MURTHY AN ICONIC FIGURE, A VISIONARY

BENGALURU: Hours after taking charge at Infosys, Nandan Nilekani on Friday described NR Narayana Murthy as an iconic figure who he said helped the company set high standards of corporate governance.

The Aadhaar architect — who was last night named the new chairman of the country’s second-largest IT firm — acknowledged that he is an “admirer” of Murthy, saying the “iconic visionary” is the father of corporate governance in India.

“Many good practices (of corporate governance) including full disclosures and transparency, SEC filings… were spearheaded by Infosys. I will ensure Infosys, Murthy and the founders have a healthy relationship,” Nilekani told investors on a conference call on Friday.

Infosys will be a board managed company with high standards of corporate governance, he asserted, vowing to restore its former glory.

Nilekani’s relationship with the founders, especially Murthy, will be critical in light of nearly a year-long acrimony between the promoters and the board that resulted in the sudden resignation of CEO Vishal Sikka and a board rehaul.

Infosys has been in crisis over the last few months, with the promoters alleging corporate governance lapses and flagging the $200-million Panaya buyout.

Nilekani said his appointment was a “unanimous” board decision and Murthy too was “supportive” of his coming in.

He, however, dodged a specific query on whether Infosys will withdraw a scathing statement, issued by the board on August 18, to the stock exchanges. The statement blamed Murthy for carrying out a “misguided” campaign that led to Sikka’s resignation.

Instead, Nilekani promised that he will look at the entire gamut of issues and resolve them to the “satisfaction of all parties”.

Alluding to the difficult task cut out for him in bridging the differences, he highlighted his past roles as a “consensus builder”.

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NANDAN NILEKANI: WILL FOCUS ON STABILITY, CEO SEARCH

MUMBAI: Infosys non-executive chairman Nandan Nilekani + said on Friday he will focus on bringing in stability and ensuring there are no “discordant” voices at the country’s second-largest IT firm.

“I have come in to focus on the future of the company, take the company forward and deal with its challenges”, Nandan Nilekani told investors on a call on Friday, adding that he would stay with the IT services company as long as necessary.

Talking about relationship between board and founders, Nilekani said: “I am an admirer of N R Narayana Murthy. I will ensure that Infosys, Murthy and other founders have a healthy relationship.”

“I will ensure there are no discordant voices in the company and everyone is on the same page,” he asserted.

He added that he will be able to offer more details of the strategy in October and is focussed on bringing “complete stability”.

Nilekani said as the non-executive chairman+ , his role will be oversight, governance and functioning and to help with the CEO search that will look for internal and external candidates as well as Infosys “alumni”.

McDONALD’S CASE: NCLAT ASKS PARTIES TO SETTLE ROW

NEW DELHI: The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Friday asked US fast food giant McDonald’s and its estranged Indian JV partner Vikram Bakshi to consider settling their dispute among themselves.

Putting off the matter for next hearing to August 30, the tribunal asked McDonald’s to give an undertaking that the 169 outlets will be allowed to function till the negotiations are on.

The parties will have to decide by August 30 whether they will consider settling the dispute or not.

McDonald’s has terminated franchisee agreement for the 169 outlets in north and east that were operated by Connaught Plaza Restaurant Ltd (CPRL), the joint venture (JV) with Bakshi’s firm.

According to the termination notice issued by McDonald’s to CPRL, the outlets have time till September 6 to function, post which they will have to stop using McDonald’s name and trademark.

The tribunal also asked Bakshi to give an undertaking that he would not pursue the criminal cases filed in India against McDonald’s executives when they come for negotiations.

SUPREME COURT CALLS FOR DATA PROTECTION LAW

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has expressed concerns over inroads made into an individual’s right to privacy in the digital age and called for a data protection law proportionate to the purpose for which data is collected and stored. “Informational privacy is a facet of the right to privacy. The dangers to privacy in an age of information can originate not only from the state but from non-state actors as well. We commend to the Union government the need to examine and put into place a robust regime for data protection,” Justice DY Chandrachud said.

Such a regime must take care of concerns over misuse of the web by terrorists. Cyber attacks can also threaten financial systems, the bench said. Any such law must ensure that the restriction falls within the zone of reasonableness. It must also be proportional to the object and needs sought to be fulfilled by the law. Apart from national security, the state may have justifiable reasons for the collection and storage of data, the judges said.

“Data mining with the object of ensuring that resources are properly deployed to legitimate beneficiaries is a valid ground for the state to insist on the collection of authentic data. But, the data which the state has collected has to be utilised for legitimate purposes of the state and ought not to be utilised unauthorisedly for extraneous purposes.”

This will ensure that the legitimate concerns of the state are duly safeguarded while, at the same time, protecting privacy concerns, the court said. Prevention and investigation of crime and protection of the revenue are among the legitimate aims of the state. Any curtailment or deprivation of that right would have to take place under a regime of law. The procedure established by law must be fair, just and reasonable.

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HANDSET MAKERS MAY NEED TO REBOOT DATA COLLECTION RULES

NEW DELHI: Handset makers may have to change the modalities of collecting data from customers, specifying what the information will be used for instead of obtaining blanket approvals, after the Supreme Court declared that the right to privacy is fundamental.

Experts said the government would have to outline a legal framework to enforce the right to privacy, which would also give users recourse in case of violations. “The state has to direct individual companies and ask them to ensure that they’re not violating use of any data of individuals and if they are, direct them to change their methods,” said Shubho Ray, president of the Internet & Mobile Association of India.

The apex court said on Thursday that informational privacy was a facet of the right to privacy and asked the government to take steps to ensure data protection.

“The dangers to privacy in an age of information can originate not only from the state but from non-state actors as well. We commend to the Union Government the need to examine and put into place a robust regime for data protection,” the Supreme Court judges said in their ruling.

Even before the court’s verdict on Thursday, the government directed 30 handset makers including Apple, Samsung, Micromax and Xiaomi to share the procedures and processes used by them to ensure the security of mobile phones sold in the country by August 28. Handset makers insist they-‘re already protecting user data on the phones they sell.

“We have always stood for securing the user data. User data on all our devices are fully secure, in compliance with the necessary laws and regulations,” said a spokesperson from Oppo.

The Indian Cellular Association, which represents handset makers, added that the industry had always upheld that subscribers, consumers, and citizens had the ultimate choice when it came to privacy.

“The only thing they (telcos and handset makers) would need to change, perhaps, is to say that individuals have the right to control what the data is used for,” said Alok Kumar Prasanna, senior resident fellow at the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy. If companies don’t make it clear that they’re collecting a user’s data, it will be considered against the law, he explained. In other words, an individual should be able to tell the telco or mobile company to stop collecting his or her data.

“Usually, you switch on the phone and accept the terms and conditions of the service, which usually includes agreeing to data collection for certain purposes. If they (handset makers) have been collecting data with your consent and using it only for purposes they mentioned, then no issues, but if they’re going beyond that in some way or using the data contrary to what they had said, then the individual has the right to approach the court, claim damages, injunction or whatever is necessary,” Prasanna said.

This would be separate from the IT Act, which has provisions for data collection over the internet, and from the data protection bill, which is being considered and drafted by the IT ministry.

GST COULD HELP BANKS ENHANCE CREDIT MONITORING

Mumbai: The new goods and services tax regime is bringing some unintended benefits for banks. Many lenders, including DCB Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank, are now offering companies the option of filing their monthly GST returns through their website.

This will help banks enhance their credit appraisal systems, keep track of corporate invoices and cash flows, and also get access to new clients by tapping their suppliers.

This service offered by banks is particularly useful for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are intimidated by the new GST regime but are comfortable with internet banking.

“Our site helps customers create an invoice and reconcile their accounts,” said Praveen Kutty, president for retail and SME banking at DCB Bank. “Our expectation is that customers using our site to fill their monthly returns will eventually make ours their primary bank account. It also enhances our ability to give loans, monitor cash flows and also will help us get access to their suppliers.” He said.

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