Infosys plans to soon “fire” an unspecified number of its techies for “non-performance”, over a week after announcing on May 2 that it would hire 10,000 Americans in the US, said the global software major. “A continued low feedback on performance could lead to certain performance actions, including separation of an individual,” said the city-based company in a statement. As a bi-annual exercise, the IT major’s management would make performance assessments of its employees, keeping in view the business goals set for individuals. “Performance assessments are done with reference to the goals individuals have on business objectives and other strategic priorities, asserted the company in the statement here. Though the outsourcing firm declined to mention how many pink slips it would hand out, sources said they could be in hundreds at middle and senior levels, working in its development centres across the country and a few in its overseas offices or subsidiaries. The proposed sacking by the troubled company follows similar layoff moves by rivals Wipro, TCS and Cognizant to right size their human resources and reduce cost of operations in a tough environment, with disruptive technologies and declining IT spend by enterprises worldwide due to sluggish economy.
IDFC Managing Director Mr. Vikram Limaye’s appointment as the National Stock Exchange (NSE) CEO is likely to be cleared by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Mr. Limaye is expected to start his new innings sometime in June. His appointment had been long pending and SEBI has expressed concerns over his role as part of the Supreme Court-appointed committee to look at the cleanup of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The market regulator is concerned that Mr. Limaye may not be able to efficiently discharge duties as the chief of NSE and has sought clarifications over his role. The Supreme Court had appointed Mr. Limaye on the four-member BCCI panel on January 30. The NSE board has assured SEBI that Mr. Limaye’s commitment to BCCI is only for short term. However, if he is still part of the committee beyond July NSE board will approach the Supreme Court to release him off his responsibility as part of the BCCI panel. SEBI Chairman Mr. Ajay Tyagi had last month told reporters that the regulator would soon take a decision on Mr. Limaye’s nomination. “We had sought some additional information from NSE on his candidature. These were on three to four aspects. The exchange has replied to us a couple of days back and we would be able to take a call on it soon,” Mr. Tyagi had said. If appointed, Mr. Limaye will succeed Ms. Chitra Ramkrishna who quit NSE citing personal reasons on December 2.
Taxi-aggregation company Uber has done away with its three-member team model in India and has hired over 1,000 people, making the country as one of its biggest employee bases outside the US. The company is planning to hire more people this year as it looks to scale its marketing, customer support and new businesses such as Uber Eats and UberHire in India. Out of the 1,000 people, about 400 are based in Hyderabad, in its customer support centre of excellence division. “There are functions like customer care, marketing where we need to add resources to be able to keep up with the growth in the business. There are also new businesses – such as the Uber Eats launch that just happened…so that team will scale as the business scales. There are experiments that we do, for example — Uber Hire. That team needs to get supported as we scale it. The expansion will be mostly linked to how the business scales,” Mr. Pradeep Parameswaran, head of central operations of Uber India said. Uber has already invested over USD 1 billion in India. The company that sold its China operations to rival Didi Chuxing is looking to scale more even as biggest rival Ola already has a staff strength of about 6,000 people across functions. “We are a thousand people plus now in India, starting with just three people some three and a half years ago,” he added. Uber globally has about 9,000 employees and it is present in over 80 countries.
British lender Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) said it was planning to cut over 300 jobs and outsourcing others to India as part of its efforts to become a “simpler, smaller UK-focused bank”. RBS informed staff that it would be letting go of 154 contractors by year-end, while 180 permanent roles have been put at risk—with a total of 92 staff positions set to be axed. “As RBS moves towards becoming a simpler, smaller UK- focused bank, we’re continuing to restructure our back-office support and reducing its size so it’s a better fit for our business. Unfortunately, these changes will result in the net reduction of 92 roles… We understand this will be difficult news for staff and we will be offering support to those affected, including redeploying people into other roles where we can,” the bank said in a statement. The job cuts are expected to affect tech staff across a number of the bank’s departments including risk solutions, digital engineering services, finance solutions, core and payments, and NatWest markets technology. Reacting to the announcement, workers’ union Unite called on the state-funded bank to impose a moratorium on the “unjustified” moving of jobs to India, believed to cover 38 technology-related roles.
Tech giant Samsung Electronics named a new head of mobile marketing as well as a China chief as part of a long-delayed executive reshuffle following the arrest of its vice chairman for alleged bribery. Samsung said Executive Vice President Mr. Choi Kyung-sik had been promoted to head of the mobile division’s strategic marketing office. His predecessor, Mr. Lee Sang-chul, had been reassigned to oversee the firm’s Southeast Asian operations. Mr. Koh Dong-jin remained the head of the company’s smartphone business. The South Korean firm also named Mr. Kwon Kye-hyun as head of the China business, where Samsung’s smartphone sales have struggled to regain momentum amid competition from rivals such as Huawei, Oppo and Vivo. The world’s top maker of smartphones and memory chips is widely expected to deliver record profits this year, but the arrest of Samsung Group leader Mr. Jay Y. Lee has raised doubts about its future direction and strategy. Mr. Lee, 48, has been in detention since February as part of a graft scandal that led to the ouster and arrest of former president Mr. Park Geun-hye. He denies any wrongdoing. Samsung said “further delay” to the personnel changes pending since late last year would hurt its ability to compete. In the smartphone business its main challenger for market leadership is Apple.
Snapdeal co-founders Mr. Kunal Bahl and Mr. Rohit Bansal are likely to receive USD 30 million in cash each from SoftBank after their exit from the company. The payout is part of the merger of Snapdeal with Flipkart. SoftBank is likely to invest a large sum in the merged entity, giving the existing stakeholders an exit. The founders hold less than 6.5 percent stake in Snapdeal, pegging the deal valuation at just about USD 1 billion, almost one-sixth of what it was valued in early 2016. “The company’s board has reached a consensus and due diligence is likely to take place from next week. Almost all the deal contours have been finalised,” a company official said. The two founders had earned close to Rs 80 crore each from sale of shares during a large funding round led by Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan in 2015. Snapdeal has agreed to a non-binding letter of intent (LoI) for a merger with rival Flipkart. The deal, which has been in works for last few months, was stuck due to disagreement amongst stakeholders over final settlement for the company’s earliest investors namely Kalaari Capital and Nexus Venture Partners. Except for few top executives, others are not likely to be retained in the combined entity, said the person quoted above without specifying the exact number. In February, Snapdeal went through a mass retrenchment exercise which saw over 2,300 employees being let go. Over the last few months, the company has also witnessed massive voluntary attrition. While the exact number of the employees in the company could not be ascertained, the company’s headcount is expected to be below 2,000 people as of now. There was no immediate clarity on whether or not the existing or former employees who have vested Esops in the company would be entitled to any benefit through this deal. Around 2,500-3,000 current as well as former employees hold close to 5-6 percent stake in Snapdeal in terms of ESOPs.
Bucking the trend, global software major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has ruled out laying-off employees in the near future and instead plans to create more jobs. “No, certainly no,” Mr. Rajesh Gopinathan, CEO and MD of TCS, said when asked if there were any plans of laying-off employees or downsize as some other big players in India’s IT sector have said they would do. “We are here to create jobs, not to downsize,” he asserted after TCS launched a BPO centre here to create new opportunities as part of the government’s Digital India push. At a time when it has been reported that Indian software companies like Wipro, Infosys and Cognizant have decided to downsize, Mr. Gopinathan’s revelation that TCS is not going to follow suit is seen as a welcome development. Later, TCS spokesperson Mr. Pradipta Bagchi said the IT sector has a bright future in the country with the Digital India initiative on the right track. “We are looking forward to expand and spread our business and connect with more and more people.” TCS operates in 45 countries and has over 387,000 of the world’s best trained consultants. The company generated consolidated revenue of $17.6 billion in the fiscal ended March 31, 2017.
Cognizant has sought two weeks’ time from the Telangana government following a meeting convened with the joint commissioner of labour and the company management to arrive at an amicable solution. The next meeting is scheduled to be held on May 26. Telangana is also the first state to intervene in the forced resignation issue despite Cognizant’s claim that it has not conducted any layoffs but conducted a performance-based process. A Cognizant spokesperson confirmed that senior officials from the company met the joint commissioner of labour Mr. R Chandra Shekaram, JCL, Hyderabad, said that the company officials had detailed discussions over the forced layoffs of eight employees. These employees had given a representation to the labour department on the sudden layoffs recently. “While three of the eight employees were forced to submit their resignations, the rest were yet to get any notices or any orders,” he added. However, sources in the know said that the government was also serious about understanding about the proposed expansion plans by the company in Hyderabad.
With the process of merging Vodafone India and Idea Cellular in full swing, the two entities are now looking for a Chief Executive Officer to head the consolidated firm. Both companies are in the process of hiring a selection committee led by Aditya Birla Group chairman Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla, which will be responsible for appointing the CEO. The contenders include Idea chief Mr. Himanshu Kapania and Vodafone India CEO Mr. Sunil Sood. Vodafone Plc executives may also be considered for the CEO job. The search is not restricted to in-house names, however, as the committee will also look elsewhere. The two telecom operators are also in the process of aligning the structure so that they are “mirror images” of each other for a seamless transition after the merger. On March 20, India’s No. 2 telecom company by subscribers, Vodafone, and No.3 Idea had said they had signed a pact to merge their telecom businesses, excluding Vodafone India’s stake in Indus Towers. After both the companies come together, the combined entity will take the first position in terms of subscriber case and push Bharti Airtel to the second spot.
Global consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) will hire 4,000 people across business verticals in financial year 2017-2018 in India. Digital, management consulting – healthcare and pharma, retail, cyber security, financial sector technology and forensic services will be the key growth areas for PwC in the current financial year. Emerging technology—internet of things, apptech, and robotic process automation will be among the other focus areas, said Mr. Jagjit Singh, chief people officer, PwC India. “Hiring for relevant skills in government reforms and infrastructure development, urban planning, goods and services tax, risk assurance shall be key,” Mr. Singh said, adding that a large part of the hiring shall be focussed at acquiring execution skills with the right attitude and values. Candidates with knowledge in areas of data analytics and cyber security verticals will be high on demand at the global consulting firm’s India office. Responding to the availability of talent with expertise in niche skills like data analytics and cyber security, Mr. Singh said that very few educational institutes have specialised courses on data analytics and cyber security. The company confirmed that it is already working with universities and institutes to train students in acquiring such niche skill sets. “We shall continue to invest in and grow our internal talent pool to take on larger roles within India and nearby geographies. We are also looking to attract and evaluate Indian diaspora based out of Europe, South Asia and the US for regular as well as marquee skills,” Mr. Singh said.
Software services firm Tech Mahindra has sacked a thousand-odd employees this month, following moves by Wipro, Infosys, and Cognizant to trim workforce amid the worst business crisis in nearly a decade. Indian information technology (IT) firms are witnessing their slowest growth in a decade due to automation, technology shifts, and increased protectionism in its main markets. Global firms are shifting their budgets from traditional IT services to newer areas such as digital and cloud, which require engineers to engage with clients than work remotely. Also, low-end maintenance work is getting increasingly automated, forcing companies to shift workers to other projects and reduce hiring from campuses. With growing stress on their businesses, IT firms are also increasing scrutiny on employees and weeding out non-performers. “We have a process of weeding out bottom performers every year and this year is no different,” a Tech Mahindra spokesperson said. As on December 31, 2016, the company’s total employee headcount stood at 117,095, while the software division had 80,858 employees. Industry experts say mid-level employees with 10-15 years of experience may be largely affected as many are averse to learning new skills.
The time limit to receive and dispose of pay-related anomalies of central government employees arising out of the 7th Pay Commission has been extended by the Centre by three months. The deadline to resolve any discrepancy arising out of the implementation of the 7th Central Pay Commission (7CPC) reports will be 15 November, instead of 15 August, an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said. The Centre has accepted most of the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission, to be implemented from 1 January 2016. “The time limit for receipt of anomalies is extended by three months from the date of expiry of receiving anomalies i.e. from 15 February 2017 to 15 May 2017,” the DoPT order issued last week said. The DoPT had last year asked all central government departments to set up committees to look into various pay related anomalies. The anomaly committees were to be formed at two levels — national and departmental — consisting of representatives of the official side and the staff side of the national council and the departmental council respectively. The Departmental Anomaly Committee is chaired by the additional secretary or the joint secretary (administration) concerned.
Australia said the changes made in its work visa regime were not directed at India or any other country and asserted that Indians are not likely to be significantly affected by the modification in the policy. Australia’s High Commissioner to India Ms. Harinder Sidhu also said the change in visa regime was carried out to ensure that Australians get first preference in skilled jobs. She said Indians are mostly employed in the high-skilled IT sector where Australia does not have sufficient manpower. Referring to incidents of attacks on Indian students in Australia, some of which were allegedly racial in nature, she asserted that Australia has “zero tolerance” for any racial behaviour. During an interaction with journalists here, Ms. Sidhu also emphasised that the bilateral ties have seen a “steady upward trajectory” and Prime Minister Mr. Malcolm Turnbull’s recent visit here has “injected a fresh momentum” in the relationship. “We have diaspora from 120 countries living in Australia. These restrictions are only to maintain our integrity. There is no intension to target any country, including India,” Ms. Sidhu said while replying to a volley of questions on the issue. Australia last month announced scrapping of the popular 457 work visa used by over 95,000 foreign workers, majority of them Indians, to tackle the growing unemployment and replace it with a new programme requiring higher English-language proficiency and job skills.
L&T Infotech, which recently revamped its brand identity as LTI, plans to recruit 1,500-2,000 freshers for its projects in India, the company’s managing director and CEO Mr. Sanjay Jalona said. This is a significant number for the company, which has 21,000 employees in the country. This is also a notable move as it comes at a time when many IT companies are in the news for downsizing teams. The company would also consider opening new centres in Hyderabad or Delhi, depending on the requirement. At present, LTI is present in four locations in India— Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune and Mumbai. According to Mr. Jalona, the hiring pattern in the IT sector would witness a change thanks to technological advancements. “With the technology moving fast, nobody can hire two years in advance like we used to hire. You will see more and more people going just in time.” The company, which has created its new brand identity to signify a synergy of new technologies, will be focusing on five broad themes: Data analytics, digital, automation, Internet of Things and cloud services.
The government announced a major reshuffle in the top management of seven public sector banks in a bid to improve their efficiency. The changes come at a time the government is trying to come to grips with the bad-loan problem at public sector banks. Mr. R. Subramaniakumar, an executive director at Indian Overseas Bank (IOB), was appointed managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of IOB till 30 June 2019. Mr. Mr. Rajkiran Rai G., MD and CEO of Oriental Bank of Commerce, will now hold the same post at Union Bank of India. His term is valid for three years starting on or after 1 July and extendable until 31 May 2022. He will be replacing Mr. Arun Tiwari, whose tenure ends in June. Mr. Sunil Mehta, an executive director at Corporation Bank, will join as MD and CEO of Punjab National Bank, replacing Ms. Usha Ananthasubramanian.
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