By Sankalp Phartiyal and Devidutta Tripathy
MUMBAI (Reuters) - Infosys Chief Executive Vishal Sikka said talk in the media on concerns over corporate governance at the software services firm was "distracting" and that he had good relations with the firm's founders, including N.R. Narayana Murthy.
India's No.2 IT services company, based in the southern tech hub of Bengaluru, has been locked in an escalating public war of words with its founders and former executives, who have accused its board of lapses in corporate governance.
Infosys' founders, who own 12.75 percent of the firm, have questioned the pay of Chief Executive Vishal Sikka and severance payouts given to others, including former finance head Rajiv Bansal. According to local media reports, the founders have also questioned the appointment of an independent director.
"All this drama that has been going on in the media, it's very distracting - it takes away attention - but underneath that there is a very strong fabric that this company is based on and it is a real privilege for me to be its leader," Sikka said at an investor conference in Mumbai on Monday.
Infosys, founded in 1981 when seven engineers, including Murthy, pooled $250 - mostly borrowed from their wives, is expected to address the governance concerns at a separate news conference at 1230 GMT on Monday.
"My relation with the founders is wonderful," Sikka said at the investor conference hosted by brokerage firm Kotak, adding he typically meets Murthy five or six times a year.
Sikka, a former member of the executive board at German software firm SAP, took the top job at Infosys in 2014, becoming its first non-founder CEO.
The board has backed Sikka, and has brushed aside concerns over CEO compensation, appointment of independent directors and severance pay relating to former employees, saying those were old issues and that full disclosures had been made.
By 0636 GMT, Infosys shares were trading 1.4 percent higher at 981.50, their highest level in a month.
(Additional reporting by Abhirup Roy, Swati Bhat, and Euan Rocha; Editing by Himani Sarkar)