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The Rediff Interview/Ram Myanampati, interim CEO, Satyam Computer

What bonds us now is emotional equity: Satyam CEO

BS Bureau, Mumbai | January 09, 2009

Ram Myanampati, the interim chief executive officer of beleaguered Satyam Computer Services [Get Quote], on Thursday admitted that he himself is on a shaky ground.

Yet, he asserted that the might of Satyam is Satyamites. He claimed to be shocked by the disclosures of Raju and insisted he's not related to Ramalinga Raju and will cooperate with the investigating agencies.

"We will do everything within our power. We are focused on sustaining our operations and giving assurance to our customers while focusing on maintaining transparency," he said. Excerpts: 

Where is the CFO of the company now?
We have been in constant touch with the CFO. He is not coming to the office due to personal reasons. But we are sure that he is in Hyderabad. 

                                        The Satyam fiasco: Complete Coverage

Raju's letter states that the real margin was only 3 per cent and that the cash reserves were inflated. Did this money never exist or did not come back to the company?

We are currently establishing the veracity, legitimacy and accuracy of Raju's disclosures. We have a different model of operation - Full Life Cycle - where we are entrusted with the responsibility of managing businesses. At any point of time, we have good visibility of our businesses.

The financial figures of the second quarter are consolidated at the CFO's office and we will not be able to know about it now. We are not in a position to comment on this at present.

What is the legal stance of the company as there is no board of directors here now? How will the company work legally and what happened to the Price Waterhouse issue?

I am one of the board members and there are two other independent directors who are not present here. I happen to be the only employee on the board. At least, one is here now (laughs). The board members have given their approval for me to function in the role of an interim CEO, which gives the legal stance to run the company. So, there is a legal board-approved status. We are yet to ascertain the accuracy of the statements. We have not contacted Price Waterhouse, but will certainly attempt to do this as soon as possible.

How is the company planning to pay its employees, both onsite and offshore?

We have taken care of the employees' payments for December and the first installment of the US payroll is already in place. Liquidity on the balance sheet is not encouraging. But we are looking at various actions to enhance this. The CFO has actually sent his resignation today. We have not accepted it and sent it to the board members. The issue will be put forth in front of the board meeting that is scheduled to be held on Saturday (January 10). Nobody has been identified for the CFO post as yet.

What happened to the managing director as well as the chairman? Have they been contacted? Please, elaborate on the financial position of the company.

We had a conference call with the chairman, managing director and the CFO within half-an-hour of the disclosure by Raju yesterday. He has assured his support and said he will be available to us. On the liquidity part, we have not yet completed the process as we have been confronted with the situation only 36 hours ago. We will be looking at the balance sheet and will be verifying the facts. We are trying to come up with an assessment to maintain liquidity to deal with the continuity of our business operations. We have a healthy receivables position now.

Do you anticipate any threat from any major stakeholders in terms of attempts to sit on the company's board? And about the alleged political connection with the wrong-doings?  Do you have any equity in the company and any vested interests?

We have to deal with the crisis in a proper fashion and by working in tandem with the regulatory agencies. The law will take its own course. In this current crisis, we (the top leaders) are emotionally vested. We are fortunate to be surrounded with such supportive team and associates. All of us have some equity, but the things that bonds us together now is emotional equity.

Was there a Sebi team in the Satyam office today?

Yes, there is a Sebi team here today and are talking to some associates. We are fully cooperating with them.

Why is there a gap in announcing the CFO's resignation while a few minutes back you said that he was on leave for some personal reasons and now that he has tendered his resignation? Are you sure that these are the facts?

I am not properly paying attention given the consequences that are taking place. We have been in touch with him. We received his resignation today and I don't have the exact text of his letter. I am sure these are the facts.

Have any buyers approached you so far?

Many actions are possible. There are a couple of issues on the agenda for the January 10 board meet � to explore induction of new board members, possible action in the wake of the promoters' stake sale and exploring strategic alternatives.

Our engagement with the current investment bank is intact. We, however, are looking at engaging a new investment bank as quickly as possible. We will go with the investment bank and look for ways and best things to do to safeguard the interests of our shareholders.

Are you appointing a new accounting firm now? Where is Ramalinga Raju? During every results announcement, you take most of the questions and talk about the company's margins. And now, you say that you have no idea of the inflated margins disclosed by Raju?

I have no knowledge of where he is now and am assuming that he is in Hyderabad. I don't know what the margins of a company are. The issues that I dealt with is what opportunities (in various geographies) we have to improve our margins.

Are you extending the timeframe for the revised results?

We are legally bound to declare our results by the month-end. We need to establish facts and are in the process.

Have you filed any complaint with the police against Raju?

We are yet to ascertain things before doing it. We are working round the clock to deal with what has happened.

Do you really have 53,000 associates and are these physical assets owned by the company?

According to our Q2 statement, the headcount is 53,000 at the end of September. However, due to the current trends and the way attrition rates are growing, about 2,000 associates have left. As of today, the employee strength might have come down.

Will the Price Waterhouse be auditing the Q3 results as well or are you going to engage another auditing firm?

Today, our auditing firm is the same. After assessment of the disclosures and if we find something wrong, we will be looking for another firm.

Raju, in his disclosure, said that he was carrying 'additional resources and responsibilities'. What is the company's current utilisation?

You need to wait for the Q3 results when we will be able to get back to you with accurate information.



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