News: Weekly roundup (June 17-21): News you cannot miss


Weekly roundup (June 17-21): News you cannot miss

  AirAsia revealed it had appointed ex-chairman of the Tata Group, Ratan Tata, as chief advisor to its India board, Business Standard reported. “I am pleased to announce Ratan Tata as the chief advisor to the board of AirAsia India. A legend in every sense. Building a powerful team,” AirAsia’s chief executive officer (CEO) Tony Fernandes said.“Persuading Tata to be advisor has not been easy. Critical we have someone of his massive experience to help me chart AirAsia India.” AirAsia will announce the appointment of the chairman for its planned domestic airline in a day or two.


AirAsia revealed it had appointed ex-chairman of the Tata Group, Ratan Tata, as chief advisor to its India board, Business Standard reported. “I am pleased to announce Ratan Tata as the chief advisor to the board of AirAsia India. A legend in every sense. Building a powerful team,” AirAsia’s chief executive officer (CEO) Tony Fernandes said.“Persuading Tata to be advisor has not been easy. Critical we have someone of his massive experience to help me chart AirAsia India.” AirAsia will announce the appointment of the chairman for its planned domestic airline in a day or two.

Automation is one of the many rude shocks facing nearly three million workers in India’s $108 billion (around Rs.6.23 trillion) software industry. Year after year, as software applications became easier to use, the need for qualified engineers to maintain them has also declined. Now, companies such as Infosys Ltd and Wipro Ltd are hiring arts and science graduates to manage projects earlier run by software engineers, Mint reported. “This is a massive shift and, unfortunately, a generation of engineers is trapped in the transition,” said Saurabh Govil, head of human resources (HR) at Wipro.

About 70,000 candidates shortlisted by the country's banking selection institute but still waiting for bank jobs may be absorbed by non-banking entities, which are planning to tap this ready pool of job seekers to avoid a lengthy and costly process of hiring, Economic Times reported. The Institute of Banking Personnel Selection, or IBPS, has prepared merit lists of 1,25,000 candidates based on written test and an interview. The top 55,000, from different categories, are being enrolled into government banks.

Randstad India announces that E. Balaji, MD & CEO of Randstad India has decided to step down from his post with Randstad India to pursue other career opportunities outside the organization. Moorthy K. Uppaluri will take over as CEO. Uppaluri and Balaji will work together over the next few weeks, for a smooth leadership transition.

Women power just got its biggest shot in the arm across IIM campuses this year with the institutes' efforts to increase their intake of female students yielding significant dividends, Economic Times reported. Data from the five IIMs at Calcutta, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Lucknow and Indore shows that the institutes are set to welcome a record number of women in the 2013-15 batch. With the exception of IIM Ahmedabad, which has acceptances from 80 women, the other four will all have more than a hundred women each on their rolls.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has said it will immediately stop funding the management departments of universities plan to start or upgrade their facilities, Mint reported. In a notice this month, posted on its website, the regulator has asked varsities to settle their grant accounts and dues incurred up to 31 May in this regard.

The prospect of a ‘new, improved’ Infosys is seen leading to a surge in job applications at the software firm, even in tepid market conditions, Economic Times reported. Infosys has seen a 39.1 per cent drop in job applications in FY13 compared with the previous year. But healthy salary raise of 8 per cent, a three-year 'daunting' roadmap chalked out by executive chairman Narayana Murthy may lead to a spike in the company's image as a preferred employer.

What started as a buzz following Air Asia CEO Tony Fernandes’ description of the yet-to-be-announced chairman of the low-cost airline as a “towering man”, has been confirmed. S Ramadorai, who was at the helm of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for over a decade till 2009, will be named the chairman of Air Asia India, a source close to the development told Business Standard. Ramadorai, who played a key role in the international development of TCS, is currently adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the National Council on Skill Development, and holds a Cabinet minister’s rank in the government. He’s also vice-chairman of TCS.

The hypercompetitive world of banking is increasingly recognising the importance of retaining female talent, in particular those who lose the most productive years of their lives to family commitments. ICICI Bank provides its employees a unique leave basket: Six months of paid maternity leave that can be extended by taking leave without pay on a need basis; 36 days of paid child care leave each year for mothers or single fathers till the child attains the age of 2 years and 180 days of leave for employees undergoing fertility treatment. For its part, Citi India has a unique 'Flexible Maternity Policy', where women officers are entitled to avail of maternity leave of 180 days in three different options. Besides Citi and ICICI, a clutch of big global banks aims leave initiatives and policies specifically at new mothers.

How about this: You have clocked your weekly quota of hours — in most organizations it would be about 40 hours — between Monday and Thursday, and you get to take an off on Friday? Well, this is now turning out to be a reality in some organizations, Times of India reported. Commonly known as “compressed workweeks”, it is the latest flexi-work practice, wherein employees can jump Fridays if they have completed the required number of work hours from Monday to Thursday. The practice serves the purpose of giving employees the option of enjoying a longer weekend after the requisite hard work.

Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry has set the ball rolling for a debate on gender diversity in the corporate world, cautioning that India still has a long way to go, Hindustan Times reported. “When women are insufficiently represented in the workplace, we lose out on 50% of the talent pool. In an environment where human capital makes all the difference between success and failure, this is a massive loss which countries and corporate can ill afford,” Mistry, 44, wrote in his chairman's message in the annual report of the Tata Global Beverages Ltd.

Speculation is rife that the reign of SD Shibulal as chief executive officer and managing director of Infosys may draw to a close this year, much before his term ends in 2015, Hindustan Times reported. Front-runners for the CEO post are Ashok Vemuri, BG Srinivas and V Balakrishnan (Bala), current board members, according to sources. An Infosys spokesperson confirmed that the three board members are possible CEO candidates but refused comments on timings.

Most of the poorer, less industrialized states like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Bihar appear to have done well in increasing their work force in the past decade according to recently released Census 2011 data, Times of India reported. Surprisingly, richer or more urbanized states like Punjab, Haryana and Kerala have lagged far behind in job creation. But if you take away natural population growth, the picture changes dramatically.

Sanand, the central town of Gujarat near Ahmedabad, does not boast of a pool of labour that the auto makers in the industrial enclave need, Mint reported. As a fix, Ford Motor India, which is set to begin operations in Sanand from 2014, is transferring some of its trained workforce from Chennai, to meet the talent crunch. The company aims to hire 5% of its total workforce of 5,000 in Sanand from Chennai and a few other skilled employees from Gurgaon, Indore and Pune to help train the remaining workforce, said Kel Kearns, director (manufacturing) at Ford’s Sanand plant.

For years, fresh engineering graduates have had it good because demand from the IT industry was robust. That's changing. Salaries for fresh IT engineers will be under major pressure in the coming years, Economic Times reported. “Fresher salaries of Rs 2.75 lakh to Rs 3.25 lakh will remain unchanged or be lowered over the next few years,” wrote Kawaljeet Saluja and Rohit Chordia of brokerage firm Kotak Institutional Securities in a recent report.

Coca-Cola Co. has promoted its India chief Atul Singh to deputy president, Pacific group, making him the first person of Indian origin to take on a role of that scale at the world’s largest beverage maker, Mint reported. Singh, 53, who for close to eight years headed Coca-Cola’s India operations, with the additional responsibility of South-West Asian countries such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, will now handle what the company considers “high-growth” markets. He will focus largely on the Greater China and South Korea business unit, which includes Taiwan, Mongolia, Hong Kong and Macau.

Ford Motor Co.’s chief executive officer Alan Mulally is credited with having turned around the auto maker, managing to do so without seeking a bailout from the US government following the 2008 financial crisis. Often cited for redefining the Ford culture, Mulally managed to slash debt to $13 billion at the end of the last fiscal year from $37 billion in 2007-08, Mint reported. On succession planning, Mulally told Mint in an interview, “I personally spend 25-30% of my time on leadership development and succession plan. There is one really good example (pointing towards David Schoch, Group Vice President). There is another really good example (pointing towards Joginder Singh, Ford India president)."

The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) wants to spruce up its image and drastically reduce the time for withdrawals to three days from 30 with the computerization of all its offices, Mint reported. The labour ministry controlled EPFO has settled 15.66%, or more than 340,000, cases within 72 hours since 1 April, according to a labour ministry official who didn’t want to be named.

Outsourcing firm iGate has been slapped with class action lawsuit in the US for alleged violations of federal securities laws in view of its sacked CEO Phaneesh Murthy's "improper relationship" with a subordinate employee, Economic Times reported. The suit has been filed on behalf of persons or entities who purchased or acquired securities of iGate between March 14, 2012 and May 21, 2013.

Leading private sector lenders are in top gear when it comes to expanding their headcount and just five of them, including ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank, added more than 15,000 employees to their payrolls in the last fiscal. The expanded workforce also seems to be giving them rich dividends in terms of improvements in their employee productivity, shows an analysis of the annual staff details of ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Yes Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank. At the same time, the full-year staff costs also rose for all the five banks.

Wages across India's telecom sector have risen by an average 7% this year, with smaller companies loosening their purse strings a little more than their larger peers in a sluggish market, Economic Times reported. The pay increase at market leader Bharti Airtel, which has seen its share slip lately, has been 4-5%, said two people familiar with budgeting at the company. The Sunil Mittal-controlled company has reported 13 consecutive quarters of profit decline, and has significantly lagged Vodafone India and Idea Cellular in capturing new market.

In what should be heartening news for the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ahead of elections, India has witnessed a dramatic turnaround in overall employment, Mint reported. Employment grew by 13.9 million in the two years ended 1 January 2012, according to the 68th round of survey by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO). This is significant since it has come about in a period when the Indian economy slowed from a growth rate of 9.3% in 2010-11 to 6.2% in 2011-12 in the aftermath of the global economic crisis.

In a sudden development, Manu Anand, region president for India and South Asia at beverage and snacks company PepsiCo, has quit, in circumstances described by company insiders as less than amicable, Economic Times reported. Two company officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, say concern at Pepsi's Asia-Pacific headquarters over loss of market share to rival Coca-Cola as well as less-than-expected returns from Rs 160 crore spent on the sixth edition of Indian Premier League contributed to Anand's abrupt departure.

A two-year mid-career IIM MBA, once keenly desired for its ability to catapult careers, is now turning into a scary option as executives worry the persistent economic slowdown will ruin the job market, Economic Times reported. Only 219 executives with at least three years work experience have quit their jobs to sign up for such an MBA at six IIMs that ET spoke to for this story. Last year, 351 students had signed on for similar MBAs — that's a decline of 37% this year.

A tough job market, companies shy of hiring, and a growing pile of CVs are increasingly forcing job aspirants to experiment with innovative ideas like infographic CVs, Facebook-styled timelines, photographs, icons and even video resumes in order to showcase their credentials better, Economic Times reported The plain old curriculum vitae is now getting a makeover with some even doing away with text altogether and relying purely on graphics instead.

<81% of Indian CEOs see talent shortage as biggest threat </</p>

About 81 per cent of Indian chief executive officers (CEOs) see unavailability of key skills as the biggest threat to their growth prospects and wish to change their organisation's talent strategy in the next 12 months, a report says. According to a PwC study on human resources (HR), Indian businesses intend to strengthen their leadership pipeline by developing the next line of leaders, and a majority of Indian CEOs have already deployed a variety of talent development strategies with varying levels of success.

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Topics: C-Suite, #Updates

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