2013: The Year That Was
If the first half of the year saw controversies erupting at major companies, the second half saw the New Companies Act come into force
As this year draws to a close, it emerges that 2013 was for fiascos. From Yahoo’s decision to ban work from home to iGate’s philandering CEO, from private sector bank employees laundering money to the death of Tata Steel’s HR head Charudatta Deshpande, from the crash of the Rupee to the introduction of the new Companies Bill, from the auto strike at Bajaj’s Chakan plant to high-profile exits and visa woes at Infosys…the year has seen it all.
Here are the top 10 picks for 2013:
#1: Ban on work from home
It was Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s first big decision concerning the workers. It not only put the global spotlight on Mayer, who had just moved to Yahoo from Google, but also on flexi working.
#2: Money laundering scam:
ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank were in for a rude shock when online portal Cobrapost accused them of indulging in money laundering. On March 14, Cobrapost had released the contents of purported video recording of officials of these banks allegedly agreeing to receive unverified sums of cash and put them in their investment schemes and benami accounts. After investigating, RBI fined the three banks for tax evasion and violations on KYC norms.
#3: Churn at Infosys:
The tech major found itself in a bind with regular low quarterly results. This necessitated the return of founder N.R. Narayana Murthy in June. Once Murthy took over, a large-scale reshuffling took place. Many high-profile executives, especially those at senior management levels, started leaving. The latest to leave after Ashok Vemuri and Basab Pradhan is Stephen Pratt. It remains to be seen how the company will pick itself up.
#4: iGate sex tales:
In May, iGate CEO Phaneesh Murthy, who had already survived a sexual harassment suit 10 years ago, found himself in its tangles all over again. Murthy was sacked by the iGate board for not disclosing his relationship with his subordinate. Araceli Roiz, 31, an investor relations employee, was suing him for sexual harassment and alleged that she was pregnant with his child.
#5: Strike at Bajaj’s Chakan plant:
On June 25, workers at the Chakan plant had gone on strike. For 50 days, 1,500 workers were on strike demanding that the management allot them shares at a discounted price and scrap the wage agreement offering 12 per cent hike every year and hence wanted higher wages. Since the strike happened at a time when auto sales were low and job losses were high, it didn’t extend.
#6: Mystery over Tata official’s suicide:
Charudatta Deshpande, who headed the communications and corporate affairs department of Tata Steel Ltd till he quit in April this year, was found dead in his Vasai home on June 28. After four months of investigations, the Mumbai police has registered a case of abetment to suicide against Prabhat Sharma, deputy head of corporate communications and corporate affairs, Tata Steel.
#7: New Companies Act:
In August, the government had passed the New Companies Act. The features of the Bill include companies to set aside 2 per cent of their net profit for CSR, change the tenure of independent directors, increase the number of women directors on Board.
#8: Rupee crashes to historic low:
The Indian currency fell to a record low of 68.85 against the dollar this year as FIIs ditched the Indian market and made their way to the recovering US. It spooked the Indian market, but soon cooled off.
#9: Women leaders in banking:
When Arundhati Bhattacharya took over the reins of SBI, she created a series of firsts. Following her appointment, many women leaders have taken over major financial institutions.
#10: Yahoo, Microsoft and Bell curve:
While Microsoft decided to shelve stack ranking after the exit of Steve Ballmer, Yahoo had other plans. And it is not making people happy. The Internet giant is struggling to find its foothold and it remains to be seen if Mayer’s efforts to weed out the weak will succeed.