Mukesh Ambani ranked 5th best CEO in the world

Mukesh Ambani, the only Indian to feature among the top 50 CEOs, is in the same league as Steve Jobs of Apple, Yun Jong-Yong of Samsung Electronics, Russian energy firm Gazprom\\\'s Alexey Miller and John Chambers of Cisco Systems

Mukesh Ambani, who heads India\\\'s most valuable company Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), has been ranked among the top five best-performing chief executive officers (CEOs) in the world by the prestigious Harvard Business Review (HBR).

Mr Ambani, the only Indian to feature among the top 50 CEOs, is in the same league as Steve Jobs of Apple, Yun Jong-Yong of Samsung Electronics, Russian energy firm Gazprom\\\'s Alexey Miller and John Chambers of Cisco Systems.

He is also ranked number two among the top 10 emerging market CEOs with Mr Miller at the top.

KV Kamath of ICICI Bank Ltd is the other Indian in the list of Top 10 Emerging Market CEOs. He is ranked at the ninth spot.

HBR said it ranked CEOs of large publicly-traded companies in a study conducted over 2,000 CEOs worldwide. The entire group represented 48 nationalities and companies based in 33 countries. It put Ambani in the list of "up-through-the-ranks leaders" along with the Samsung boss.

"Among the up-through-the-ranks leaders on our list are Yun Jong-Yong, who joined Samsung straight out of college and worked there 30 years before becoming CEO, and Mukesh Ambani, who joined RIL in 1981, when it was still a textile company run by his father.

"These CEOs may not all be household names, but here\\\'s an objective look at who delivered the top results over the long term," HBR said, ranking Steve Jobs as the top CEO in the world.

Mr Jobs, it said, delivered a whopping 3,188% industry-adjusted return (34% compounded annually) after he rejoined Apple as CEO in 1997, when the company was in dire straits. From that time until the end of September 2009, Apple\\\'s market value increased by $150 billion.

He was followed by Yun Jong-Yong, who ran South Korea\\\'s Samsung Electronics from 1996 to 2008. "Yun is an example of a leader who has stayed out of the limelight. During his tenure he capably transformed Samsung from a maker of memory chips and me-too products into an innovator selling digital products such as leading-edge cell phones," said HBR. Mr Miller was at the third spot followed by Mr Chambers.

HBR said that none of the top three CEOs had an MBA. Mr Ambani and Mr Chambers were the only two in the top five to hold degrees in business administration.

"CEOs who were promoted from inside the company tended to have stronger performance than those brought in from the outside," said HBR.

Several CEOs that were "most respected" according to other reviews were nowhere in HBR\\\'s top 50. They include Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, Satoru Iwata of Nintendo, Sam Palmisano of IBM and Rex Tillerson of Exxon Mobil.

Many other celebrity CEOs also failed to make the cut. They include Carlos Ghosn of Renault-Nissan, Sergio Marchionne of Fiat, John March of Morgan Stanley, Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric, Daniel Vasella of Novartis and Robert Iger of Walt Disney.

"Some of these well-known CEOs have not necessarily done poorly; they are just not among the top performers in the world according to the total shareholder return they have delivered so far," HBR said.

The likes of Jack Welch, Warren Buffett, Larry Ellison and Bill Gates do not find mention in the list as HBR considered CEOs who assumed the job no earlier than January 1995 and no later than December 2007.

"On an average, the top 50 CEOs increased the wealth of their shareholders by $48.20 billion," it said. They delivered a total shareholder return of 997% during their time in office. That translates into a spectacular annual return of 32%.

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    "Tyche Industries flouts disclosure"

    Tyche Industries fails to make timely disclosure of acquisition of stake in the company by another group company

    It looks like companies have succumbed to the habit of bending the rules dictating corporate governance practices. Moneylife has regularly pointed out cases where such companies and their promoters openly flout regulations at the cost of investors and customers. Tyche Industries is another instance where the company has failed to make the mandatory announcement in changes to its public shareholding pattern.

    Apparently, the company underwent a change in public shareholding late last year, when its group company Tyche Chemicals was shown holding a 14.88% stake in the March 2009 shareholding pattern. However, the same company was not in the December 2008 disclosed shareholding pattern.

    The public shareholding with more than 1% voting rights in the company stood at 2.21% in December quarter 2008, which subsequently rose to 17.08% in March 2009. According to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) guidelines on acquisition of shares, any acquisition of shares in a company entitling the acquirer to more than 5% or 10% of the voting rights in the company, is required to be disclosed to the stock exchanges within seven working days of such acquisition.

    The SEBI Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers Regulations, 1997, specifies that “any acquirer, who acquires shares or voting rights which (taken together with shares or voting rights, if any, held by him) would entitle him to more than 5% or 10% or 14% share or voting rights in a company, in any manner whatsoever, shall disclose at every stage the aggregate of his shareholding or voting rights in that company to the company and to the stock exchanges where shares of the target company are listed.”

    Interestingly, in the case of Tyche, shareholding among promoters has also undergone a change in this period. G Sandeep, who held 14.11% in Tyche Industries as on December 2008, sold 5% stake to another promoter G Ganesh Kumar. This change comes to light in the March 2009 disclosed shareholding pattern. Under the SEBI guidelines, such sale of stake between promoters of the same company to the extent of 5% or more also requires an announcement to that effect.

    Tyche Industries responded to Moneylife’s query saying that Tyche Chemicals was holding stake from 2002 onwards, which was shown in the ‘corporate bodies’ category of shareholders. However, the company still has to disclose the name of the concerned parties holding more than 1% of the total shareholding, which Tyche Industries has not done.

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    Vulgar salaries 'out', austerity 'in' during 2009

    A host of human resources (HR) experts believe that tough economic conditions globally gave a wake-up call to companies during 2009 to curb their extravagant ways in compensation structures and turned them into more thrifty and performance-conscious firms

    'Vulgar' salaries became a sore thumb in 2009 and everyone from chief executive officers (CEOs) to office assistants felt the pinch of the economic downturn, but Indians still managed a worldwide-best average of a 6% hike in their salaries, reports PTI.

    With the economy showing strong signs of recovery, the hikes could be fatter in the New Year with industry analysts forecasting pay hikes above 10%.

    A host of human resources (HR) experts believe that tough economic conditions globally gave a wake-up call to companies during 2009 to curb their extravagant ways in compensation structures and turned them into more thrifty and performance-conscious firms.

    For most of the year, Europe and the US were busy pruning salaries of executives of fallen firms and many companies embraced austerity, while Indians became conscious of high salaries paid to industry captains and perks to those who run the government.

    The government asked ministers and departments to cut down on wasteful expenditure, while corporate affairs minister Salman Khurshid asked CEOs to abstain from 'vulgar' salaries—at a time when many had no salary to take home.

    "(This year was) one of the more difficult periods in the last 10 years, no doubt. (It) should be seen in the context of the high (of the previous years) and pain of a severe fall," said Ganesh Shermon, partner and country head of people & change practice at KPMG Advisory Services.

    Experts at various HR consultancies feel that 2010 would be considerably better in terms of salary hikes and hiring, although firms will continue to tread cautiously.

    "For 2010, we forecast average salary hikes of 10.9% across all sectors. However, the appraisals would vary across the sectors," said Gangapriya Chakraverti, Mercer India business leader for information product solutions.

    Echoing a similar view, HR consultancy Hewitt Associates said that salary hikes in 2010 are expected to climb quickly and will definitely be in double digits.

    "Salaries are likely to rise as companies would face problems of getting the right talent, inflation and building up a pipeline of leaders for the future," said Anandorup Ghose, Hewitt Associates' (India and Middle East) executive for compensation and governance.

    Consulting firm Deloitte India's senior director for human capital advisory services, P Thiruvengadam said, "2009 was not seen as a major surprise by employees and HR professionals as the global exposure and the media coverage of the downturn from the middle of 2008 was extensive enough to prepare people for balanced expectations. It was a paradigm shift in the way people accepted the lower levels or no increase."

    Owner of leading job portal Naukri.Com, Info Edge's chief operating officer Hitesh Oberoi said, "2009 started on a bad note and hiring had slowed down but things have improved considerably by the end of the year. 2010 is expected to be much better in terms of hiring and salary hikes with firms taking up replacement hiring."
    Mr Oberoi added that salary hikes are expected to be in the range of 10%-15% in 2010.

    In terms of sectors, IT, Business Process Outsourcing and the export-related segments were impacted the most with layoffs, sharp salary cuts and increment freezes coming their way in 2009.

    "In 2010, parts of banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector, consulting and telecom may offer the best prospects for salary hikes," said KPMG's Mr Shermon.

    Mercer's Mr Chakraverti said, "Sectors which are likely to fare better in terms of salary hikes in 2010 are the auto and pharma sectors, while IT and BPO which were the worst hit in 2009 are likely to remain under the weather in 2010."

    "Sectors like infrastructure and pharma did not suffer a major setback. I anticipate all sectors to return to decent levels of growth, including FMCG. Retail is a sector which one would like to wait and watch," said Deloitte's Mr Thiruvengadam.

    Moreover, middle-level executives may walk away with the bulk of salary increments in the 2010 while senior-level executives may continue their austerity drive until the economy is clearly out of the woods.

    "The freshers and mid-level executives will clearly see salary hikes in the next year. Though those at the senior rung may not get increments, they will lead the chart in terms of base salaries," said Mr Ghose of Hewitt Associates.

    Deloitte said that the overall confidence level or optimism during the last year was one of extreme caution about growth and turnover.

    "The signs are that 2010 would be a better year in terms of salary growth. There are skill-set gaps which would require paying the right amounts to get the talent on board," Mr Thiruvengadam said.

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