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Winds of change

Rajiv Rao/New Delhi 31 Jan 13 | 12:28 AM
Related to : HCL Technologies Ltd
 HCL Technologies Ltd
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It takes courage to change the stewardship of a company during turbulent economic times. But some Indian firms have done just that -- introduced new captains to steer their ships. In some cases, existing company heads completed their terms and, given the times, it might have made sense to coax them into staying. Instead, promoters grabbed this opportunity to place bets on a slew of new faces. Most candidates are forty-somethings. Lets take a look at some of them, and whether they have been able to change the fortunes of the businesses they were given charge of:

Part IV

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Can Gopal Vittal guide Airtel through its existential crisis?

By Rajiv Rao    

When Gopal Vittal spent time as head of marketing at Airtel, between 2006 and 2008, he was with a company at the top of its game. It had pioneered a canny model of outsourcing its infrastructure and networking needs, paying for capacity, not hardware, as it both streamlined its finances and gobbled subscribers. It grew at a remarkable rate, made large profits and extended its market share lead over its peers.

What a difference five or six years can make. Today, the leviathan is in trouble, mired in a quicksand of declining numbers, adverse trends, increasing competition and the hammer blows of regulation. To rediscover its winning ways, it needs to do nothing short of re-inventing itself.

Click here to read more

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Part III

Can Anant Gupta continue Vineet Nayar's dream run at HCL?

By Rajiv Rao


Just when the general outlook for information technology firms playing the outsourcing game was looking potentially perilous, HCL Technologies — India’s fourth largest IT firm — announced a blockbuster quarter. The company’s net profit rose 68.5 per cent to Rs 9.65 billion ($176.3 million) from the previous year, driven primarily by what it calls six large transformational deals—a majority from the US and Europe—that gave its quarter a billion-dollar booking. Consequently, its stock soared 57 per cent in the last calendar year.

The man largely responsible for these rosy numbers is the company’s new CEO, Anant Gupta, a somewhat enigmatic entity, but the driving force behind the company’s infrastructure division’s transformation into a billion dollar business. In fact, according to analysts, 70 per cent of incremental business for the company comes from here and the group brings in 27 per cent of HCL’s overall revenue pie.

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Part II

Slym's hefty challenge at Tata Motors

By Rajiv Rao 

Ex-head of General Motors India Karl Slym may not have realised this, but he has a few things in common with Alan Mulally, the global head of his former arch rival, Ford Motor Co. One, the company Slym has recently taken charge of, Tata Motors, snapped up Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) from Mulally’s Ford in 2007, a decision viewed as disastrous for Tata at the time considering the company’s hefty losses, but now considered inspirational, given JLR makes up 68 per cent of the consolidated sales and over 90 per cent of profits (Slym is responsible only for the Indian operations and not for JLR).

Second, Ford is still around, thanks to one of the most brazen and astonishing rescue acts in auto history, engineered by Mulally — and Slym may have to take a few notes from his former rival, given his new company is seen to be in deep trouble.

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Part I

Can Gambhir streamline Godrej Consumer Products?


By Rajiv Rao 

Vivek Gambhir, the CEO-designate of Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (GCPL), who takes over in June this year, appears to have a supremely tough task ahead of him. He has to match his company’s stellar performance in the past four years or so — GCPL’s revenues have more than tripled and its market capitalisation has quadrupled in that period. The company’s investors — and its promoters — are no doubt primed to view this performance, that too in one of the bleakest macro environments in recent times, as a critical benchmark.

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Sensex

Company Price Gain (%)
Reliance Inds.979.302.94
Hindalco Inds.160.402.39
TCS2,557.902.21
GAIL (India)509.651.93
Infosys3,946.151.72

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