Vishal Sikka, Infosys Ltd. managing director and CEO, resigned Thursday. In an email to employees, Sikka said he is leaving "because the distractions, the very public noise around us, have created an untenable atmosphere."
In response, Infosys initiated a succession process to replace him. To ensure leadership continuity, Sikka said he would continue to serve as the board's executive vice chairman until new management is found.
Sikka referenced the environment of the last few quarters as a primary factor in his decision. "It is clear to me that despite our successes over the last three years, and the powerful seeds of innovation that we have sown, I cannot carry out my job as CEO and continue to create value, while also constantly defending against unrelenting, baseless/malicious and increasingly personal attacks."
Sikka did not elaborate on the personal attacks, but Infosys and other India-based consulting companies have come under fire recently for their use of the H-1B visa program. Large consulting firms based out of India were the leading employers of H-1B visa holders for the last three years. Some critics say those firms are responsible for displacing American workers.
In May, Infosys said it would hire 10,000 U.S. workers and open four U.S.-based technology centers over the next 24 months. At the time, Sikka told Reuters the plan was not related to President Donald Trump’s executive order encouraging U.S. companies to "Buy American and Hire American," which was revealed in April. Throughout his tenure as CEO, Sikka remained an outspoken leader among the India-based outsourcing firms, discussing their future in the market.
Infosys' overall workforce includes more than 200,000 people worldwide. The company is India’s second-largest software services exporter, and the U.S. and the U.K. are its two biggest customers.
India-based outsourcing firms have experienced weakening demand from U.S.-based customers as companies' needs change with the growing role of IT within businesses. Earlier this year, Infosys pared its revenue growth projections for 2017, saying it expects revenue to grow between 8.4% to 8.8% this year. The company had previously predicted an increase between 8% and 9%.