At a time when e-commerce firm Snapdeal is undergoing a due diligence from Flipkart’s team ahead of a potential stake sale, rival Amazon is busy shopping for senior talent that has recently quit the Gurgaon firm or is serving their notice period. At least five senior executives, holding positions such as vice president, assistant vice president and director at Gurgaon-based Snapdeal and its payments firm Freecharge, have been hired by Amazon for multiple roles. Mr. Amit Kurseja who was serving as assistant vice president, heading merchant solutions, payments and financial services products at Freecharge has joined Amazon India as its head of external payments, this month. Mr. Siddharth Bedi who was a senior director of supply chain at Snapdeal has also joined Amazon India as a senior program manager. Other who have quit Snapdeal recently to join Amazon India include – senior executives Mr. Chatterjee, Mr. Sunny Jain and Mr. Rahul Bansal. Mr. Viraj Chatterjee was vice president of technology who reported to Snapdeal’s Chief technology Officer Mr. Rajiv Mangala, Mr. Rahul Bansal was senior director of product management, head seller platform and Mr. Sunny Jain, director, business finance at Snapdeal. Some of the executives quoted above have quit the firm already while some are serving a notice period. New roles of Mr. Chatterjee, Mr. Bansal and Mr. Jain at Amazon weren’t immediately clear. At a time when senior executives continue to quit the firm, Snapdeal last month offered retention bonus its existing staff provided the deal with Flipkart goes through.
Uber Technologies Inc Chief Executive Mr. Travis Kalanick is likely to take a leave of absence from the troubled ride-hailing company, but no final decision has yet been made, according to a source familiar with the outcome of a board meeting. Mr. Emil Michael, senior vice president has left the company, the source said. At the meeting, the company’s board adopted a series of recommendations from the law firm of former US Attorney General Mr. Eric Holder following a sprawling, multi-month investigation into Uber’s culture and practices, according to a board representative. Uber will tell employees about the recommendations, said the representative, who declined to be identified. The company is also adding a new independent director, Nestle executive and Alibaba board member Mr. Wan Ling Martello, a company spokesman said. Mr. Holder and his law firm were retained by Uber in February to investigate company practices after former Uber engineer Ms. Susan Fowler published a blog post detailing what she described as sexual harassment and a lack of a suitable response by senior managers. The recommendations in Mr. Holder’s firm’s report place greater controls on spending, human resources and other areas where executives led by Mr. Kalanick have had a surprising amount of autonomy for a company with more than 12,000 employees, sources familiar with the matter said.
Paytm Mall the ecommerce company of Mr. Vijay Shekhar Sharma run One97 Communications has appointed Mr. Amit Sinha as the Chief Operating Officer (COO). Interestingly, till now Paytm Mall was run by Mr. Sharma and vice presidents handled different verticals within the ecommerce arm. However the company did not have any COO to head the whole operations. “The ecommerce company till now was handled by the founder, however after Paytm Mall bifurcated into a separate entity and as the operations of One97 Communications have expanded, there is a need for a COO to head the ecommerce operations,” a source close to the company said. Mr. Sinha would be responsible for overall operations of Paytm Mall and expanding the team to ensure customers have access to the widest assortment of products across categories, delivered quickly through an efficient and optimised partner logistics network. Mr. Sinha who till now was the senior vice president of business, joined One97 in 2008. He has handled several key business roles in Paytm and helped implement critical business, HR and financial processes for the company. “We are innovating on multiple aspects of business and offering newer business opportunities for sellers. Paytm Mall also aims to be the preferred destination for consumers looking for the largest selection of products being sold by trusted sellers,” Mr. Sinha said. Paytm recently hived off its e-commerce business into a separate entity. This new entity started off with the same shareholding as the parent company of Paytm, One97 Communications Limited and raised $200 million from SAIF Partners and Alibaba Group Holding. Paytm Mall works with retailers and brands to build their online stores integrated with supply chain in a partner model. It is currently targeting to launch its new app in coming month.
Sears said it’s cutting 400 jobs at corporate offices as it works towards a goal of reducing costs by $1.25 billion in fiscal 2017. The cuts will primarily affect workers at Sears’ headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. The move comes one week after the retailer revealed it was closing 65 more Sears and Kmart stores, in addition to the 180 closures announced earlier this year. Sears has also been eliminating store-level positions this year, as well as slashing hours for its part-time workers. “We are making progress with the fundamental restructuring of our operations that we initiated in February,” Sears CEO Mr. Eddie Lampert said in a statement. “We remain focused on realigning our business model in an evolving and highly competitive retail environment. This requires us to optimize our store footprint and operate as a leaner and simpler organization.” The company said it has achieved $1 billion in cost cuts so far this year and is on track to meet its goal of $1.25 billion in savings by the end of the year.
Even as the news of mass layoffs in the information technology sector continues to add to the worry of workers, large employers are looking at ways to speak to them and allay fears about job losses. “There is greater focus by IT companies to send effective internal communications- more townhalls, greater focus on talking about reskilling. Every company has some sort of internal reskilling platform going on,” said Ms. Sangeeta Gupta, Senior Vice President at industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom). According to Nasscom, India’s USD 155 billion IT industry added 1.7 lakh new jobs in the last fiscal, with a total employee base of about 39 lakh. There have been reports of over 50,000 people in the industry being laid off this year at some of India’s biggest IT companies such as Infosys, Cognizant, and Tech Mahindra. As a result, employees have hit a panic mode. Indian IT companies have consistently denied mass layoffs, but reports of employees being asked to leave is impacting optimism. “The experience of living with the possibility of redundancy, insecurity of job and watching others leave, has become part of the working experience of many employees which is definitely impacting the employee morale,” said Ms. Alka Dhingra, general manager at IT staffing firm TeamLease Limited.
In its bid to attract young applicants, American fast-food chain McDonald’s will hire some US workers this summer through the photo-sharing app Snapchat. The world’s largest burger chain said the company and its franchisees will hire about 250,000 people across its US restaurants for what is usually one of its busiest seasons of the year. The chain started accepting “Snaplications” in Australia last month, allowing potential employees to make video submissions with a special filter that shows them wearing a McDonald’s uniform. “We thought Snaplications was a great way to allow us to meet job seekers where they are – their phones,” Mr. Jez Langhorn, McDonald’s Senior Director of Human Resources in the US said. The video audition could be submitted to McDonald’s Snapchat account after which McDonald’s would send back a link to the application and digital careers page for a formal application. McDonald’s said that allowing applications through Snapchat will aid hiring efforts because many of its applicants are between the ages of 16 and 24. This is incidentally the prime user group of the photo sharing platform. The company is also set to use other platforms like Spotify and Hulu to reach potential job seekers.
With the introduction of the Pixel phone last year, Google made it clear to its rivals that it was bringing its focus to hardware. Popular for mastering software, the company outsourced the making of its Nexus phones to companies like HTC and LG, but all that changed with the Pixel last year. Now, Google’s latest hire indicates that the company is going all in with homegrown products. Google has reportedly hired Apple’s chip architect Mr. Manu Gulati to head its own custom chip ambitions, and has even posted several job postings that indicate Google is on a steady road to building its own custom SoC, just like Apple. After working at Apple for nearly eight years developing custom chips for many of Apple’s products, Mr. Gulati has decided to make the switch to Google. He recently updated his LinkedIn profile to indicate that he now works at Google. Mr. Gulati holds 27 years of expertise in the industry, and has worked with companies like AMD and Broadcom in the past. Apple’s custom chips give its products a competitive advantage over Android flagships that largely rely on Qualcomm to produce silicon for their devices, and are known for their industry-leading performance on most benchmarks. Mr. Gulati’s name figures on as many as 15 chip-related patents that Apple has filed in the past – some of these patents are said to be application specific, while others are related to chip architecture. One of these is around Apple Pay and hardware-based security that protects your fingerprint on the iPhone. With his level of knowledge and skill, hiring Mr. Gulati is a big advantage for Google and a loss for Apple.
At a time where top IT and technology companies in India are cutting jobs due to the H-1B visa restrictions in the US, leading chip maker Intel Corporation announced that it will invest US$178 million (around Rs 1,100 crore) to expand its research and development (R&D) presence and build a state-of-the-art design house in Bengaluru. The proposed facility will be located at Intel’s 44-acre campus on Sarjapur Ring Road (SRR) in Bengaluru, Karnataka. With approximately 620,000 sq ft of space, including lab capacity, the new building with specialised infrastructure will be used for chip design and verification purposes, the company said. This fresh investment is in addition to the $2 billion the chip maker had invested into the country till 2016. Intel in India has about 7,000 technology employees to design and power the semiconductor chips for it global customers. These customers include original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of computers, smartphones and other electronic devices. “Designed to be a “smart and green” building, the upcoming facility, SRR4, will be constructed using innovative “One High Technology,” with each floor being built on the ground, then lifted and attached to the of the building, and then built from the roof downward. This technology will enable the reduction of scheduled construction time by 30% as compared to traditional construction methods,” said the company.
General Motors (GM), which has decided to stop selling vehicles in the Indian market from the year-end, has given its employees in the country less than a month to opt for a voluntary separation scheme (VSS) as it starts winding down operations in the country. After announcing its decision to stop retailing vehicles on 18 May, the company sent mails to employees the very next day about the VSS that will close on 15 June 2017. General Motors India president and managing director Mr. Kaher Kazem had stated around 400 employees engaged in domestic sales and after-sales activities would be impacted. According to the internal communication, the company offered compensation of “45 days salary for every year of completed year of service or part thereof in excess of six months” in normal cases. On the other hand, for those who are nearing retirement, GM offered employees compensation of “monthly salary multiplied by the remaining months of service till normal age of retirement”. The minimum compensation payable eligible shall be three months’ salary, it added. According to people familiar with the matter, nearly 250 people in marketing, sales, finance and administration are likely to be given golden handshakes by September itself. Mr. Kazem had, however, stated at the time of announcing the company’s decision to exit from domestic operations that only half of 400 affected employees “are expected to move on by the end of 2017”. Employees in after sales department have, however, been issued letters for continuation of service till further notice, the sources added. When contacted, a GM India spokesperson said: “GM understands this is a difficult decision that impacts a number of our hard working and professional employees, and we are providing counselling, financial advice and outplacement support, as well as a separation package in excess of the statutory requirements.”
IT services company Tech Mahindra plans to increase headcount by 1,200 more at its Bhubaneswar campus by December this year. Tech Mahindra has about 1,100 employees at its Bhubaneswar facility now. “The IT Company has bagged contracts from Bharti Airtel and Amazon to start BPO services at the city campus. They have started hiring”, said a senior government official. Tech Mahindra is expected to complete the process by end of this year, he added. Meanwhile, the IT firm has started work on its second development block within the city campus. It plans to set up its third development block shortly. In December 2014, the company had inaugurated a new block at its existing campus to house 615 more IT professionals taking the total headcount in the state to 1,111. The new block was built at a cost of Rs 55 crore. Earlier, Tech Mahindra had announced to scale up headcount at its Bhubaneswar centre to 5,000. This included professionals for IT and ITes (IT enabled services) jobs. The IT company has plans to invest Rs 500 crore on its Odisha centre over the next five years.” The company’s plan to increase hiring speak volumes about the conducive environment provided by the Odisha government here. The expansion plan would help us in achieving the goals set in ICT policy of the state”, said the official.
Average salary raises for managers at Hindustan Unilever Ltd, India’s largest packaged consumer goods company, moderated in 2016-17, according to the company’s annual report. Salaries of chief executive officer and managing director Mr. Sanjiv Mehta and chief finance officer Mr. P.B. Balaji remained the same as in 2015-16. Mr. Mehta took home Rs14.20 crore and Mr. Balaji, Rs 8.33 crore in financial year 2017. Management board members Mr. Pradeep Banerjee, executive director, supply chain, and Mr. Dev Bajpai, company secretary and executive director, legal and corporate affairs received hikes of 8% each, taking home Rs 4.75 crore and Rs 4.69 crore respectively. This was higher than the average percentage increase in the median remuneration of the company’s employees for the financial year, 3.42%. “The remuneration paid during the year is as per the remuneration policy of the company,” said HUL, adding the average increase is also an outcome of the company’s market position. HUL had 5,976 permanent employees on its rolls as on 31 March 2017. “Earlier this year, the parent has declared that it will improve its operating profit margins by 300 bps (basis points). India contributes 8-9% to Unilever’s revenues and hence, we can expect moderation and rationalization in salaries and advertising to take place here,” said Mr. Abneesh Roy, senior vice-president, institutional equities at Edelweiss Securities Ltd.
IT major will give no annual salary increase to a certain percentage of employees starting this fiscal, as part of its revised strategy to differentiate between the performers and rest. Infosys, which reported an employee base of little over two lakh at the end of March, 2017, as part of its new strategy will be more selective in doling out increments. Mr. Richard Lobo, executive vice president, Head HR – Infosys, said, “There will be a percentage of people who will not get anything this year.” This decision by Infosys has got to do with the broad changes in the sector with the industry growth rate coming down to single digits and stronger focus on people with skills which are in sync with business requirements. Mr. Lobo said the shift in thinking is linked with the budgets available to give out the salary hikes. “Today, one does not have the flexibility to give out lots of money,” he remarked. However, the HR head said that high performers will continue to receive higher salary increases which will go into double digits and majority of the employees will be given hikes in single digits. Mr. Lobo said the top performers in the company have consistently received a double digit rise in salary and this fiscal is also going to be no different. This shift has lot to do with focus on employees which bring in additional value in terms of technical skills and also higher billings. Infosys, which generally gives out annual salary hike in the month of April has now deferred it to July for this financial year. The company gave out average salary increase in mid-single digits for FY17. For the Indian IT industry which employs close to four million people, the salary increase over the last couple of years has come down to single digits, reflecting the subdued environment. Even the salary for the entry level engineering graduates has remained stable at around Rs 3.2 lakh over the last four to five years.
India’s markets regulator finally approved the appointment of Mr. Vikram Limaye as chief executive officer and managing director of the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd (NSE), making it conditional on him being relieved from a panel of cricket administrators formed by the apex court. Approval of Mr. Limaye’s appointment by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) had been held up by his role on the panel overseeing the functioning of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Sebi said that Mr. Limaye, currently managing director and chief executive officer of IDFC Ltd, will join the NSE, India’s largest stock exchange, only after he is released from the BCCI committee. “The condition in the approval is to ensure that his responsibilities at NSE are not compromised due to his additional role at the BCCI panel,” said a Sebi official. The Supreme Court on 30 January formed the four-member committee, pressing ahead with its efforts to reform the country’s richest sporting body. Sebi’s approval of Mr. Limaye’s appointment follows on the heels of an assurance held out to the market regulator by NSE that Mr. Limaye will not continue in his BCCI role beyond August and will recuse himself in case of an extension.
Tata Consultancy Services Ltd’s (TCS) head of digital business Mr. Satya Ramaswamy has quit after India’s largest software services company reorganized that business. Mr. Ramaswamy, who joined TCS in 2010, was senior vice-president until he left the Mumbai-based firm last month. A TCS spokesperson said Mr. Ramaswamy left to pursue interests outside the firm. Till recently, TCS’s digital business, which accounted for 17% or $3 billion of total $17.58 billion revenue at the end of March 2017, used to comprise of cloud computing, analytics, and business from automation platform tools. Under the new structure, TCS has carved out individual components of digital and entrusted leaders to scale up business as more Fortune 1000 companies look at their IT vendors for solutions in newer technologies like data analytics to run their business better. TCS’s cloud computing business will be overseen by Mr. Satishchandra Doreswamy while automation service business will be headed by Mr. P.R. Krishnan, who formerly headed TCS’s infrastructure service solution business. In his new role, Mr. Krishnan will oversee TCS’s internal push to embrace automation and generate more business from selling automation tools to company’s clients. Data analytics will be headed by Mr. Dinanath Kholkar, who was earlier the head of TCS’s BPO business. Mr. Reguraman Ayyaswamy will head the internet of things (IoT) business. All these four leaders will report to president, Mr. Krishnan Ramanujam. Mr. Ramanujam will in turn report to the chief executive officer Mr. Rajesh Gopinathan.
Tata Motors Ltd named Mr. Girish Wagh, known as the brain behind the Tata Indica, Tata Nano and Tata Ace, as the head of its commercial vehicle business. He has also been included in the company’s executive committee. Mr. Wagh, currently head of product line (medium and heavy commercial vehicles) comes in place of Mr. Ravindra Pisharody, who quit as executive director of the commercial vehicles business. Mr. Wagh will take charge immediately and work with Mr. Pisharody for a smooth transition, Tata Motors said in a statement. Wagh’s ascent to the top of the CV business comes at a time when the business is facing stiff competition from Indian and foreign rivals. A mechanical engineer from the Maharashtra Institute of Technology and a post-graduate in manufacturing from SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mr. Wagh joined Tata Motors straight from the campus in 1992. His appointment to the top post reflects the management style of Mr. Guenter Butschek, managing director and chief executive at the firm, said a Tata Motors insider. “He has quickly understood the DNA of the company,” this person said, adding that apart from being competent and having the requisite skills, Mr. Wagh has a great following within and outside the company. Mr. Butschek who took over the reins of the Tata Group flagship last February, has made several changes —from undertaking organisational restructuring to revisiting the systems and processes, as he seeks to bring the loss-making entity back on track.
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