News: Weekly roundup (May 26-June 1): News you cannot miss

C-Suite

Weekly roundup (May 26-June 1): News you cannot miss

Indian-born CEOs in the West have come a long way from the 1980s, when they were seen as geeks and nerds barely capable of making it to the top job. They are playing new games with confidence and charm, as three developments revealed this month, according to a report in Hindustan Times.

Indian-born CEOs in the West have come a long way from the 1980s, when they were seen as geeks and nerds barely capable of making it to the top job. They are playing new games with confidence and charm, as three developments revealed this month, according to a report in Hindustan Times.

On May 24, Procter & Gamble announced that former chairman & CEO AG Lafley would be coming out of retirement to replace current CEO Bob McDonald, who will retire at the end of June 2013, an Economic Times report said. P&G said it brought the former chief executive to run the world's largest household maker with a base salary of $2 million.

FMCG major Nestle India today said Etienne Benet would take over as the managing director of the company with effect from October 1, 2013, replacing Antonio Helio Waszyk from the post, PTI reported. Benet is currently the chief executive officer of Nestle Central and West Africa Region, Nestle India said in a filing to the BSE.

The proliferation of information technology across sectors is generating demand for a new kind of specialist: the cyber security expert. The national cyber security policy sees India needing as many as 500,000 professionals in the field in five years, according to a report in Hindustan Times. “Currently, there are only about 37,000 cyber security professionals and there is a big gap between demand and supply,” said Gulshan Rai, Director General, Indian Computer Emergency Response Team.

Even before Facebook Inc.’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” was released in March, it left people sharply divided on whether Sandberg, who has led a somewhat privileged existence, really knows what she’s talking about when she says women themselves are responsible for not really making it to leadership positions in the workplace. The manifesto-ish book has generated a debate on gender issues; women, child-bearing and the workplace; men taking on a more supportive role at home and at work; and why feminism concepts need a rethink.

The Phaneesh Murthy saga may be an extreme case of employee misconduct, but India Inc says it is treating it as a wake-up call to make sure its work ethics and disclosure policies are foolproof, a Business Standard report said. Human resource (HR) heads across major Indian firms say while office relationships are inevitable when a majority of the workforce is young, it also calls for processes that ensure such relationships do not affect business performance and office discipline. Some say they actively discourage relationships at workplace for fear of bad work environment or let-out of confidential information by one partner to the other. But since they don’t have any control over when Cupid strikes, they have put in place stringent measures.

A sweet craving in the middle of the night while writing this story was rather disquieting knowing that all stores in Delhi that sell chocolate cupcakes were shut at that unearthly hour. But thanks to a start-up run by an ex-Ernst & Young employee, the cupcake was delivered at 3 am and the story was mailed before day-break. Start-ups like Batman Delivers, Fly By Knight, Midnight Munchies, Take It That One and MadBites, among others, are picking up business through the night as Indians increasingly stay up long hours-partying, meeting work deadlines or tweeting or chatting away on social media sites, according to a report in Economic Times.

You may end up saving more in the months ahead with the Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) readying to re-notify a new definition of “compensation” that will include all your allowances, amid intense lobbying against the move by industry bodies, a Times of India report said. Currently, employers get away by contributing only 12% of the basic salary and dearness allowance, which is not paid by most companies, towards their share of "matching" provident fund and the Employees Pension Scheme contribution. So, for several thousand employees, the basic salary remains constant, while increments are passed by way of enhanced or new allowances.

Amway India chairman and managing director William S Pinckney and two directors of the direct selling firm were arrested on Monday and charged with cheating and violation of laws dealing with chit funds. Pinckney, a US citizen, and the directors — Sanjay Malhotra and Anshu Budhraja — were arrested at the CB-CID office when they appeared for questioning. The accused have been charged under section 420 of Indian Penal Code (cheating) along with sections dealing with chit funds and the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978.

Former P&G India chief Gurcharan Das and private equity fund manager Renuka Ramnath are among the new independent directors of state-run Air India, which is in the midst of a government-backed bailout and is bidding to claw back market share lost to non-state rivals, Mint reported. The civil aviation ministry has also appointed air marshal K.K. Nohwar, former vice-chief of the Indian Air Force; Prem Vrat, founder and former director of the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee; and professor Ravindra H. Dholakia of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad; as independent directors.

Private sector bank employees are been rewarded generously even as annual hikes in most companies in other sectors have been moderate due to the economic slowdown, a Hindustan Times report said. With around 20,000 jobs likely to be added due to the entry of new players, private sector lenders such as ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank are looking at ways to compensate their employees monetarily and otherwise, in a bid to retain them.

Talent shortage is expected to intensify around the world, according to a survey by human resource firm ManpowerGroup India. While 35 per cent of employers globally were having difficulty in filling up the jobs, in India the average was a whopping 61 per cent, a company press release said. The global results of ManpowerGroup’s Talent Shortage Survey reveal that employers in India have the most difficulty filling jobs in accounting and finance, IT staff and engineers, as compared to last year when IT staff, marketing/public relations/communication and engineers were the most difficult positions to fill.

A local court on Tuesday granted conditional bail to network marketing firm Amway's India Chairman and CEO William S Pinckney and two company directors who were remanded to 14 days judicial custody. Kalpetta judicial first class magistrate N Ravishankar, who remanded the three to judicial custody yesterday, granted them bail with conditions including that the accused should report to the investigating official as and when directed.

Britannia Industries, one of the country's leading publicly-held food companies, is effecting a major rejig of its top management, a Business Standard report said.  As part of this, Managing Director Vinita Bali, who has been at the company’s helm of affairs for a little over eight years, would focus on international business, Britannia Nutrition Foundation and new business development. The firm's India operations, which account for 95 per cent of its Rs 6,200-crore annual revenue, would be led by COO Varun Berry.

Just two years after its conception, Prism Skylabs has made enormous strides. It has secured more than $8 million in financing from investors like Pacific Partners and Andreessen Horowitz and has contracts with 70 retailers, the New York Times reported. But like many start-ups finding success in Silicon Valley and across the country, Prism Skylabs is not the brainchild of a rookie entrepreneur who risked everything. One of its founders is Ron Palmeri, a long-time Silicon Valley executive. He is among a growing group of professed company builders who are parlaying past successes - along with their own capital and thick Rolodexes - into operating companies and venture funds that work on multiple companies at the same time.

Tony Fernandes, the man who recently got Virgin’s Richard Branson to wear a dress, is following in Donald Trump’s footsteps, Mint reported. The Malaysian entrepreneur of Indian origin who runs budget carrier AirAsia Bhd, will present the Asian edition of reality TV show The Apprentice, the US version of which is famously (or infamously) presented by the real estate tycoon with the indestructible hair. In The Apprentice Asia, which starts airing on 24 May on AXN, Fernandes will be accompanied by Kathleen Tan, CEO of AirAsia Expedia, and Mark Lankester, CEO of Tune Hotel Group. AirAsia Expedia is a unit of the carrier, while Tune is a budget hotel promoted by Fernandes in his personal capacity.

India’s economy is poised for a gradual recovery in 2013, driven by large investment projects and foreign direct investment, after slumping to its slowest pace of growth in a decade in the previous year, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said in its economic outlook on Wednesday. This was reported by Mint. OECD projected India’s gross domestic product (GDP), calculated at market prices, to grow at 5.7 per cent in 2013 and 6.6 per cent in 2014, from 3.7 per cent in 2012. These figures are not comparable with Indian government projections as the government measures GDP at factor cost.

Thomson Reuters Corp. said on Wednesday it had hired Andrew Rashbass, currently the group chief executive of The Economist Group, to be CEO of its news business Reuters. “We are determined that Reuters news should not only fulfil its critical mission but also its potential in creating long-term value for our customers and shareholders,” David Thomson, chairman of Thomson Reuters, said in a statement.

As Ratan Tata strode the halls of the Geneva Motor Show in March, joking with journalists and chatting with auto industry leaders, his successor at the helm of India’s biggest business group stood silently on the sidelines. Shunning the spotlight since taking charge of the $100 billion Tata group in December, 44-year-old Cyrus Mistry has focused on belt-tightening at a conglomerate left bloated by explosive growth under his predecessor.

 

Takashi Kikuchi has been appointed Isuzu Motors India Pvt. Ltd managing director, the company said in a statement. Kikuchi will be based at the company’s headquarters in Chennai, Mint reported. Kikuchi has been associated with Isuzu for more than 30 years.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) tightened the rules for corporate debt recasts on Thursday, seeking to address the risk of restructured loans turning bad as the economy struggles for recovery from its slowest pace of growth in a decade, Mint reported. Banks should set aside more money to cover restructured loans and the promoters of companies seeking a debt recast have to be made personally liable for compensation for losses incurred by lenders engaged in such an exercise, RBI said.

Search engine Google is aiming to increase the number of female computer engineers in order to reduce the gender gap in the industry, ANI reported. Co-founder Larry Page in his address during the I/O conference, said that the company is focused on recruiting more women 'forever' so as to ensure that the company is not all male.

The Indian IT and ITeS industry, which is considered one of the pioneers in organised staffing, is expected to witness a high level of flexi hiring in the next few years, says Indian Staffing Federation. This was reported by PTI. Flexi hiring or temporary recruitments in the IT industry is likely to increase from 10 per cent to 20 per cent by 2020, according to Indian Staffing Federation (ISF), the apex body of flexi staffing industry in India. By 2025, it is expected that 10 per cent of the overall workforce in India could be working in a flexible capacity, through staffing companies, it said.

There is a whiff of change in the house of Mahindras, where steps may be afoot for senior-level management changes signalling a new era, similar to the events in the Tatas, where the exit of Ratan Tata and the induction of Cyrus Mistry led to a new executive council, a Hindustan Times report said. After a stint spanning over four decades, chief financial officer of the Mahindra Group, Bharat Doshi, has decided to step down in November this year, advancing his retirement by 18 months. Mahindra has not announced a successor yet.

A significant 40 per cent of advisory boards fail to act as good mentors and coaches to CEOs and business leadership, or increase the organisation's effectiveness, develop collaborative strategies and provide support to overcome unfamiliar challenges, according to a study by Athena Executive Search and Consulting. The study, titled, 'The Changing Face of Indian Board Rooms and their Relevance', covered over 200 CEOs, companies and heads of businesses and aimed at identifying the changing composition and evolving role of boards in India.

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