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Satyam shortlists CEO aspirants

January 23, 2009 12:48 IST
Last Updated: January 23, 2009 19:33 IST

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Satyam [Get Quote] Computer on Friday said it has shortlisted three candidates for the post of CEO and CFO and was close to arranging funds to meet immediate requirements like salary payments, while dispelling doubts about the total employee strength of 53,000.

The government-appointed board, which met for two days from Thursday, is expected to formally announce before January 28 the funding arrangements, which will address the company's operational needs till the end of March 2009.

Commenting on the doubts raised on the headcount, the board said: "Prima facie there appears to be no basis to doubt the same. The independent investigation process is expected to reaffirm this fact in the coming weeks."

Satyam director Deepak Parekh indicated that the immovable properties of the company, including campuses, could be mortgaged to raise funds as "they are free of any encumbrance."

The collections from receivables have been robust so far making the cash position a little better, the company said in a statement after the board meeting. Parkeh had earlier said that 40 applications had been received for the post of CEO and CFO.

The board announced that it has narrowed the shortlist for the CEO and CFO to the final three and will finalise the decision in the ensuing week.

"This is a crucial decision for the company and its stakeholders," said the statement quoting the board, whose meeting was chaired by Tarun Das.

The board said: "We fully recognise the urgency and importance to have the right person with the right experience and abilities (as CEO and CFO) to successfully steer the company through these turbulent times."

On the "serious doubt raised regarding the head count in the company by external authorities," the company said there appears no doubt about the existing numbers and that a separate process to verify it was on.

On Thursday, the CID, which is investigating the Rs 7,800 crore accounting fraud in Satyam, claimed that Raju had told them that there were only 40,000 employees working with the company, whereas the documents were showing 53,000 employees.

Raju's lawyer Bharat Kumar, however, had categorically denied the charges about cooking employee numbers.

The CID had also claimed that on the basis of the inflated employee numbers, Raju was drawing Rs 20 crore (Rs 200 million) monthly from the bank towards staff cost.

The board on Friday said that the company was addressing customer issues, where it has spoken to two dozen key customers and individuals.

"A few large customers have already visited the company's development centres in India and have expressed their satisfaction on the team's commitment towards their projects," the company said.

Satyam's director Kiran Karnik said: "There is a pronounced shift in customer's attitude. From being alarmed in the initial days, it has changed to a sense of cautious optimism. The planned actions will have a distinct impact on the customer confidence."

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