Slowdown Impact: Minimum job shifts at top level this year


The Economic Times, Aman Dhall & Lisa Mary Thomson, September 27, 2009

The year 2009 may well go down as one of the most job stable years, top business leaders at India Inc have ever witnessed. Even as companies continued to lay off workers at lower ranks this year, the C-level positions — CEOs, managing directors, CFOs, CIOs, CTOs, business unit heads and legal heads — witnessed minimum job shifts in India’s top 500 companies.

So while the world watched the high-profile exits of Ranbaxy CEO Malvinder Mohan Singh, ICICI Prudential CEO Shikha Sharma, Punjab National Bank CMD KCChakrabarty, TCS CEO S Ramadorai and the much-maligned Satyam CEO Ramalinga Raju, a wide array of India’s business leaders just chose to stay put.

In fact, a SundayET-Adecco study of BSE500 companies reveals that the CXO level movement has declined by one-fourth in 2009 till date, in comparison to the same period last year. While in 2009, the total number of changes in the same companies has been 166; the total number of CXO level changes for 2008 in the BSE500 companies was 226.Speaking of the dip in job switches, Sudhakar Balakrishnan, CEO of HR services provider, Adecco India said; “Hiring happens based on forecasted economic growth. The increased uncertainty post-crisis in the US meant offtake here came down considerably.
And hence there was more job stability at management levels this year.” Sector wise, it was the banking and financial services companies, which saw maximum retrenchment across levels in the current year due to the global financial ripple effect.This sector reported a 41% increase in CXO movement in 2009 vis-à-vis the same period in 2008. ICICI Bank witnessed the highest shuffle at the CXO level, with as many as five key positions changing hands.

This was the year when KV Kamath (now ICICI Bank chairman) retired from executive responsibilities to hand the baton of ICICI Bank over to Chanda Kochhar. There was also the high-profile exit of Shikha Sharma, who took over as CEO of Axis Bank this year.

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