As a child I was encouraged to make mistakes but was told not to repeat them. My guess is that one of India’s most prominent IT figure, Phaneesh Murthy never understood this. A decade after he was fired from Infosys following a sexual harassment case, the man has been once again sacked on similar grounds from his own company iGate - the US-based, Nasdaq-listed one-billion-dollar company. The news that came as a surprise to its 30,000 employees, majorly based out in India, also asked them to avoid discussing the matter on social media or talking to journalists (News Source: TOI)
Following the news breaking out on Tuesday, iGate employees in India were informed via the communications department, explaining the situation and also advising them not to discuss on social media or talk to any journalist. Later in the day, the Fremont, California-based company had organized a web based town hall. The gathering was arranged to announce a pre-recorded audio message from its founder-promoters - Ashok Trivedi and Sunil Wadhwani that explained the situation. Additionally, senior managers also shared the board’s decision and advised them not to discuss the issue internally with other employees inside the premises.
The company’s stance to disclose the issue to its employees is a rational one, especially in today’s times when bad stuff spreads faster on social media. However, businesses are still saving their online reputation at the last moment. Social media policies are a must for every company whether they are in a crisis or yet to be.
The episode has already created concerns for a company backed by Murthy’s vision. But then one can’t ignore such grave concerns. Araceli Roiz, the company’s investor relations head who has pressed charges against sexual harassment, is also said to be pregnant with Phaneesh Murthy’s child, plans to sue him as well as the company. Subsequently Murthy, whose reputation has been hit badly has declined the charges and stated it to be an easy means to collect money.
Some other sources have also hinted that the audacious bet Murthy had made by buying Patni Computers since the merger, hasn’t worked out the way it was envisaged. The company’s growth and profitability has been a worry for the board for a while and this incident seems to be the right moment to pull the plug, by a board which once backed Murthy totally.
Nevertheless, iGate for now has shown an astute move by issuing social media guidelines on this issue, especially when the sacked CEO was a popular face among the youth at iGate’s Bangalore campus.
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