Cognizant Technology Solutions has floated a voluntary separation option for its employees at the senior management level, at a time when the company is pushing for automation and digital technology and is in the process of trimming its workforce. The Nasdaq-listed US-based company, which has most of its India operations in Tamil Nadu, confirmed the development. Cognizant said the option had been offered to senior executives — from director level to senior vice-president. Sources in the company said that those who had annual salaries in excess of Rs 40 lakh might also be eligible for the option. A minimum of nine-month salary will be paid as compensation under the initiative, depending on the executive’s post. The IT firm said the move was related to its overall strategy to accelerate shift to digital and deliver high-quality, sustainable growth. The company will, however, continue to hire across all of its practices and is expanding facilities globally, ensuring that it has the “right expertise to help its clients”. “As part of these initiatives, we are offering a voluntary separation incentive to some eligible leaders, representing a very small percentage of our total workforce,” said a company spokesperson. Asked about the compensation, the spokesperson said, “We believe it provides a fair and positive experience for those choosing to leave.” He didn’t disclose any details. The company wants the process to be concluded by the end of the second quarter, and is not expecting any disruption in its day-to-day operations or client commitments due to this. Following the annual appraisal earlier this year, the company initiated efforts to reduce its manpower. The process could see about 2.5 per cent of its staff losing their jobs. The company had 260,200 employees at the end of December 2016.
Snapdeal has started pay-out process of employees it fired two months back. Although it did not disclose how many employees were laid-off, it is estimated around 1,500 people were asked to leave across three units- Snapdeal, FreeCharge and Vulcan Express. As Snapdeal has begun the process, one of the issues concerning employees is the value of Employee Stock Options (Esops). The Esops have gone down drastically. In May 2015, Snapdeal had made several senior hires with the promise of heavy chunks of Esops. “I joined Snapdeal two years ago, when the company was valued at $6.5 billion. I was entitled to shares worth Rs 7-8 lakh. When I checked the value of my shares in the first week of March, they had fallen to Rs 1.8 lakh,” a former employee involved in strategy and business development at the organisation said. “At FreeCharge, employees have received their severance and settlements as indicated. I received my payout between April 10 and 12 which was the promised payout date,” a former senior executive said. Reportedly, severance packages for the affected employees ranged between two and four months’ of salaries.
Alphabet Inc can’t seem to stop heaping massive pay packages on Google’s Mr. Sundar Pichai. The chief executive officer (CEO) of the search-engine unit received $199.7 million in compensation for 2016, according to a regulatory filing. That marks his third straight year getting nine-figure pay — a rare accomplishment even at well-paying technology companies and virtually unheard of in other industries. Since he became CEO in 2015, Mr. Pichai has moved to give Google more control over two critical fields: Artificial intelligence and cloud. He oversaw a 17.8 per cent jump in Google’s core ads business last year, while also boosting its revenue in cloud and hardware, a long-sought goal of the company. Mr. Pichai’s 2016 compensation consisted mainly of 273,328 Class C shares that vest quarterly through 2019 if he remains on the job. The award was granted about six months after the tech business announced it would reorganise into holding company Alphabet. As part of the transition, Mr. Pichai was tapped to lead Google, taking the reins from Mr. Larry Page who became chief executive of the parent entity. It wasn’t the first time following in Mr. Page’s footsteps led to big payouts for Mr. Pichai. In 2015, he got about $100 million in reported compensation after he was promoted to senior vice president of products and took over many of Mr. Page’s responsibilities overseeing areas such as search and ad products. That made him one of the highest-paid US executives that year.
The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A)’s first international faculty director Mr. Ashish Nanda has stepped down from the post with effect from September 1, 2017, exactly a year before his term ends. Mr. Nanda cited personal reasons, including long distance between him and his immediate family, in his resignation letter to IIM-A Board of Governors (BoG) chairman and Aditya Birla Group chairman Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla. An alumnus of IIM-A from the 1983 batch, Mr. Nanda was a Robert Braucher Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School and later a Harvard Business School faculty member, before he took charge on September 2, 2013. “Professionally, I have enjoyed the experience immensely and I have learned a lot. However, personally, living a long distance from my wife and son has been a challenge. When I joined, I had committed to serving at most one term. On September 1, it will be four years, to the day, since I took charge. It is a good time to step aside and to hand over the responsibility and honour of leading the Institute to the next, fortunate person. I will hand over responsibilities of director at the end of that day,” Mr. Nanda stated in a letter addressed to the IIM-A community.
Amazon has announced that it will create 5,000 new jobs in India, by doubling its storage capacity and adding 14 new fulfilment centres by end of this year. The move by Amazon comes at a time when local rival Flipkart last month raised USD 1.4 billion from eBay, Microsoft and Chinese player Alibaba’s formal entry into the country is imminent this year. As per the plan, the e-commerce giant will create these additional jobs in packaging, transportation, logistics, and hospitality through expansion. Its storage capacity will be doubled to 13 million cubic feet by the additions of these new fulfilment centres (FCs). “These 14 FCs will bring us closer to our customers and enable thousands of small & medium businesses to fulfil their orders in a cost-efficient manner,” said Amazon’s Mr. Akhil Saxena. These new centres will act as a warehouse to store the products shipped by online sellers. These FCs are in addition to the seven specialised centres announced recently for large appliances and furniture by Amazon. These seven centres will be set up in Telangana, Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh by June, this year. Last week, Amazon reported stronger-than-expected financial results for the first quarter, as profit rose 41 percent from a year ago to Rs 4,650 crore, on revenues growing 23 percent to Rs 2,29,320 crore. Amazon founder and chief executive Mr. Jeff Bezos used the earnings report to highlight the company’s efforts to expand in India.
Infosys, India’s second largest software services firm, is planning to hire 10000 Americans over the next couple of years. The Bengaluru-headquartered company said it would open four new Technology and Innovation Hubs across the United States focusing on cutting-edge technology areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, user experience, emerging digital technologies, cloud, and big data. The company said in a statement that these four hubs would not only focus on technology and innovation areas, but also serve clients in key industries such as financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, energy. The first hub, which is expected to come up in Indiana in August this year, will create 2000 jobs by 2021 for American workers and will help boost the local economy. The company’s decision comes at a time when the Trump led US administration has proposed measures to restrict issuance of H1B visas for highly-skilled workers and higher minimum wages for H1B visa-holders. Indian IT companies including Infosys has been dependent on H1B visas to send software engineers on projects in the US to support the local team. “Infosys is committed to hiring 10000 American technology workers over the next two years to help invent and deliver the digital futures for our clients in the US. Learning and education, along with cultivating top local and global talent, have always been the core of what Infosys brings to clients; it is what makes us a leader in times of great change. In helping our clients improve their businesses and pursue new kinds of opportunities, we are really excited to bring innovation and education in a fundamental and massive way to American workers,” said Mr. Vishal Sikka, chief executive officer, Infosys. The company said it would also take the model of hiring fresh engineers from colleges and training them on its core technologies to global markets of the US, UK. Infosys will gradually step up hiring from US universities too.
Tata Teleservices has fired between 500 and 600 employees to tide over difficult times in the hyper-competitive telecom market. As many as 600 employees have been impacted by the layoffs in sales and other related functions, two people familiar with the matter said. The lay-offs are across locations, they said, adding that the severance package being offered to the employees impacted by the decision is one month’s salary for every year of service. Sources in the company said that these are challenging times for the telecom industry. “What most operators, including Tata Telservices, are doing is workforce rationalisation, to stay competitive in line with the needs of the market,” said one of them. Tata Teleservices spearheads the Tata Group’s presence in the Indian telecom market. The company, along with the listed arm, Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd, has a presence in 19 telecom circles. It offers integrated telecom solutions to customers across wireline and wireless networks. According to TRAI data, Tata’s mobile subscriber base stood at 51.2 million as on February 28. The company has nearly 4.4 per cent market share in the country’s total mobile subscriber base of over 1.16 billion.
Jet Airways has told pilots that the freeze on pay hikes would be reviewed after declaring the first quarter results and urged them to make “personal sacrifices” amid business headwinds. Faced with financial challenges and intense competition, the full service carrier recently decided to freeze the increments for the staff in the current fiscal year — which it had done in 2016-17 too. Pilots have been having differences with the airline management on certain issues, including those related to expat pilots. The carrier has around 1,500 pilots. In a communication to the pilots, Jet Airways said continued efforts are being taken to improve the over-all performance, processes and trim costs. As a result, the operations management team has been restructured and work force has been rationalised. “This has begun to yield results and we need to sustain fully this momentum. To this, we need to make some personal sacrifices. “We therefore, appeal to you, to share a part of the burden. As a result, we will take an increment freeze for the present, which will be reviewed post declaration of the first quarter results of FY 2017-18,” the communication said. In the interim, the airline said the international per diem layover and the international trainers allowances would continue.
Facebook Inc will hire 3,000 more people over the next year to respond to reports of inappropriate material on the social media network and speed up the removal of videos showing murder, suicide and other violent acts, Chief Executive Mr. Mark Zuckerberg said. The hiring spree is an acknowledgement by Facebook that, at least for now, it needs more than automated software to improve monitoring of posts. Facebook Live, a service that allows any user to broadcast live, has been marred since its launch last year by instances of people streaming violence. Mr. Zuckerberg, the company`s co-founder, said in a Facebook post the workers will be in addition to the 4,500 people who already review posts that may violate its terms of service. Mr. Zuckerberg said: “We`re working to make these videos easier to report so we can take the right action sooner – whether that`s responding quickly when someone needs help or taking a post down.” The 3,000 workers will be new positions and will monitor all Facebook content, not just live videos, the company said. The company did not say where the jobs would be located.
The Union Cabinet approved the modifications under the 7th Pay Commission recommendations on pay and pensionary benefits in the course of their implementation. The Cabinet which was chaired by Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, informed that the benefit of the proposed modifications will be available with effect from January 1, 2016, which is the date of implementation of 7th Pay Commission recommendations. The government approved the retention of percentage-based regime of disability pension implemented post 6th CPC, which the 7th CPC had recommended to be replaced by a slab-based system. The issue was temporarily suspended after the Army, Navy and IAF last year strongly demanded that their persisting salary anomalies had not been rectified by the panel. Now, the approved decision will benefit existing and future Defence pensioners will entail an additional expenditure of approximately Rs 130 crore per annum, the Cabinet said. Last year in June, the Cabinet had approved implementation of the recommendations with an additional financial outgo of Rs 84,933 crore for 2016-17, which included arrears for two months of 2015-16. With the increase approved by the Cabinet, the annual pension bill alone of the Central Government is likely to be Rs 1, 76,071 crore.
The financial services industry, more specifically banking, is expected to see a substantial rise in jobs in the next few years even as automation encroaches on most of its core activities. Automation, chat bots and big data analytics programmes might take a toll on the sector in the next decade or so. But now, digital technology, together with physical labour, is scaling new heights in the banking sector. With financial exclusion being as high as 55-60 per cent of adult population, notwithstanding Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan push, banks will continue to hire — a number of well-trained people armed with cutting-edge digital technology but reaching out to harvest customers who can’t make use of these services on their own. HR managers are bullish on the industry. “Banking is the new IT industry in terms of employment generation,” said Mr. Ajay Shah, head of recruitment services at Teamlease, a manpower firm. According to Mr. Shah, incremental hiring in private sector banks would increase 10-11 per cent in the next 12 months. HR does not count public sector banks, as these do not follow a linear recruitment path. Moreover, these banks are either overstaffed or understaffed.
Razorpay Software Pvt. Ltd, which runs payment gateway company Razorpay, has roped in Mr. Arif Khan, a senior MasterCard executive, as chief innovation officer. Mr. Khan will manage innovation by building strategies and identifying new business opportunities, the company said in a statement. He will also work closely with banking and financial institutions to develop new technical capabilities and a robust payment architecture, the statement added. Before joining Razorpay, Mr. Khan was senior business leader at MasterCard, where he helped expand the company’s payment gateway platform, Simplify, in the Asia-Pacific region. Prior to MasterCard, he was senior vice president at HDFC, where he led and implemented strategic projects in the payments and digital space. “I will be focussing on leveraging advances in financial services and technology to create new products and solutions for Razorpay merchants,” Mr. Khan said. Earlier this month, Razorpay announced the appointment of Mr. Amit Saini, former director of engineering at cab-hailing services company Ola, as vice president-engineering. Razorpay was founded by IIT-Roorkee alumni Mr. Shashank Kumar and Mr. Harshil Mathur. The company, which helps businesses accept online payments via credit/debit cards, netbanking and mobile wallets, has over 20,000 merchants, including Papa John’s, Knowlarity, Chai Point, Nestaway and Eatfresh, among others.
Online marketplace Paytm E-Commerce Pvt. Ltd, majority-owned by China’s Alibaba Group Holdings, has inducted SAIF Partner’s Mr. Ravi Adusumalli and four top executives from Alibaba as its board of directors. The new members of the board from Alibaba Group include the e-commerce giant’s senior director of finance Mr. Jason Pak Tung Yip; secretary and general counsel at Alibaba Group Holding Mr. Timothy A Steinert; former director of Alibaba.com Europe and present executive director at Alibaba Entrepreneurs Hong Kong Mr. Mei Ki Cindy Chow Lok; and chief executive of Alibaba’s payments subsidiary Ant Financials Mr. Jing Xiandong. The newly-elected five members will join Paytm founder Mr. Vijay Shekhar Sharma and vice president Mr. Amit Sinha on the board, the report added. Last year, Noida-based One97 Communications Ltd separated its e-commerce and payments businesses as Paytm E-Commerce and Paytm Payments Bank Ltd, respectively.
Beverages multinational Coca-Cola’s Indian arm announced that Mr. T.K.K. Krishnakumar will take over as the President of the company’s India and South West Asia business. According to the company, Mr. Krishnakumar, who currently serves as the CEO and South West Asia Regional Director of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, will replace current President Mr. Venkatesh Kini, who served the company for 19 years. “As outlined by our President and Chief Operating Officer Mr. James Quincey a few weeks ago, the Coca-Cola Company is designing a new operating model to support the next stage of our transformation into a growth-oriented, consumer-centred, total beverage company,” Coca-Cola’s Asia Pacific Group President Mr. John Murphy said in a statement. “Key components of this new operating model are a revitalised organisational capability and better system alignment to ensure that optimum execution multiplies our marketing plans and investment.” The company has appointed as its South West Asia Regional Director, Mr. Vamsi Mohan, who currently serves as BIG’s (Bottling Investments Group) Region Director for Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia. “Mr. Christina Ruggiero, currently Chief Procurement Officer for the Coca-Cola System in North America, and President and CEO for Bottlers’ Sales & Services, LLC, will be reporting to Mr. Vamsi as the new CEO of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages,” the statement added. Coca-Cola India is one of the country’s leading beverage companies which, along with its bottling partners, has a strong network of over 2.6 million retail outlets.
The government exuded confidence that the US administration will take into account the benefits Indian IT firms brought in for American companies when it goes for the H1B visa policy review. “We fully believe when they do the review, they will take into account the benefits that have gone to the American public and companies, the mutually-beneficial relationship between Indian companies and them and based on that, they will take a decision,” IT secretary Ms. Aruna Sundararajan said. Earlier this month, US President Mr. Donald Trump had signed an executive order for tightening the rules of the H1B visa programme, the most sought-after by Indian IT firms and professionals, to stop “visa abuses”. Acting on his “buy American, hire American” pledge, Mr. Trump has sought to replace the lottery system for issuing H1B work visas with a merit-based approach. The US has also accused top Indian IT firms TCS and Infosys of “unfairly” cornering the lion’s share of the H1B work visas by putting extra tickets in the lottery system. Apart from the US, other countries like Singapore, Australia and New Zealand have also initiated similar steps to safeguard jobs for locals and raise the bar for foreign workers. On its part, the Indian government and Indian IT body Nasscom have been engaging with US authorities to highlight that there is shortage of highly-skilled domestic talent in America in IT, healthcare, education, and other fields and that is a gap which Indian IT companies fill. The H1B visa programme is most sought-after by Indian IT firms and professionals to work on customer sites. Every year, the US grants 65,000 H-1B visas, while another 20,000 are set aside for those with US advanced degrees.
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