Infosys on Thursday appointed Punita Kumar Sinha, wife of Union Minister Jayant Sinha, as an Independent Director on its Board, and rejected charges of nepotism, asserting that the company will benefit from her vast professional experience.
In a regulatory filing, India’s second-largest software service exporter said it has "appointed Dr. Punita Kumar Sinha as an Independent Director. The appointment is effective from January 14, 2016."
Punita Sinha is the Founder and Managing Partner of Pacific Paradigm Advisors, an independent investment advisory and management firm focussed on Asia. She is also a senior advisor and serves as an independent director for several companies.
Her husband is Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha.
The appointment was criticised on social media, with Congress MP Rajeev Shankarrao Satav raising the issue of nepotism.
Infosys, however, defended the appointment, saying that the former senior managing director of Blackstone "will bring valuable perspectives to the Infosys Board".
"We look forward to benefiting from her vast experience and understanding of the financial markets and investment banking.
"The nominations committee of the Infosys Board has a well instituted process of identifying and evaluating individuals who could bring varied skills and expertise to the Board. Dr Sinha’s appointment follows this process," it said.
Netizens took to Twitter to criticise the appointment of the wife of a politician on a day when Infosys posted stellar third-quarter performance and provided better revenue guidance, beating the outlook by bigger rival Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
"If it is correct for Punita Kumar Sinha w/o Jayant Sinha to take up ind director’s post at Infosys, how was Nalini Chidambaram wrong?," one of the tweets said.
Congress MP Rajeev Shankarrao Satav tweeted, "Infosys appoints Punita Sinha, wife of Jayant Sinha, as Director.
Clear case of #Nepotism?"
"Her husband has a day job – Union Minister of State, Finance, and she is privy to govt’s financial policies," tweeted one Pankaj Tiwari.
Infosys also re-appointed Jeffrey S Lehman as an Independent Director for a term of two years with effect from April 14, 2016 to hold office up to April 13, 2018, and not be liable to retire by rotation.
Lehman’s current term of office as an Independent Director expires on April 13, 2016. The appointment is subject to the approval of shareholders, the filing added.
An independent director on board of Infosys earned at least Rs 1 crore annually in sitting fee and other remuneration, according to the company’s Annual Report for 2014-15.