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We stand by Satyam but no job applications please: Infy

January 14, 2009 02:12 IST

Amidst the outrage among certain Satyam [Get Quote] employees to Infosys [Get Quote] Co-Chairman and Chief Mentor N R Narayana Murthy's statement last week that Infosys would not recruit employees from the disgraced IT firm based in Hyderabad, top Infosys executives on Tuesday stood by their stand. They also couched their views on the Satyam scam in decidedly softer terms.

Infosys Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director S Gopalakrishnan said that the accounting scandal at Satyam did not call into question the competence of its (Satyam) employees. "The government is trying to protect 53,000 jobs at Satyam. We believe that the employees are not to blame for the current situation," he said. However, considering the CVs of Satyam employees for jobs with Infosys would not be prudent in the present circumstances, he added.

On whether Infosys was directing its sales forces to target Satyam clients, Gopalakrishnan said, "Not at all. Some of Satyam's clients did approach us directly regarding projects, but we have not been proactively courting them. We will approach such requests like any other business proposition."

"In the event of a client initiative resulting in project transfers from Satyam, we prefer to have Infosys employees working on them," he added.

Narayana Murthy, whose statement on not hiring Satyam employees had caused a furore in industry circles, said in a separate statement on Tuesday, "At a time of crisis, it is important that the industry acts in a responsible and credible manner. We have stated our intention not to act on any CVs from Satyam's employees. This is to ensure that nothing is done that will adversely impact Satyam's future. This is no reflection on the integrity and competence of Satyam's employees. We respect them as professionals."

Gopalakrishnan said that the medium-to-long term focus should be on building a strong management at Satyam. On suggestions from some quarters of industry and the media that Murthy should take over as interim CEO of the Satyam and help reinforce ethical practices in that company, Gopalakrishnan said, "None of us (at Infosys) will serve on Satyam's board as there is a clear conflict of interest."

"If the new board is able to set regulatory changes in process and help stabilise the situation at Satyam, then things will be back on track again. We have to wait and see," the Infy chief said.

T V Mohandas Pai, member of the Infosys board and head - human resources, said that Infosys would not poach from companies going through crises. Noting that it was important to restore confidence in Satyam, Pai said that Infosys' position on recruiting from Satyam remains unchanged.

"Our hiring is fully merit-based, and we respect Satyam employees. They are people of competence. But considering their CVs for recruitment is not feasible right now considering the crisis their employer is going through," Pai reiterated.

He said that three guidelines can prevent the recurrence of such scandals: The first would be enhanced levels of disclosure and transparency within companies; followed by an institutional framework which lays stress on shared responsibility instead of undue power being conferred upon a single individual; and a culture where regulators would be empowered to award exemplary punishment to offenders in the minimum possible time.

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