Archive for December, 2012

New chief executive comes ‘with an open mind’

December 28th, 2012

Wellington City Council’s new chief executive has defended the privatisation of council services that he oversaw in England, but says the capital is in a better financial position.

Speaking from Cornwall in his first interview with New Zealand media, Kevin Lavery said he was coming to Wellington with an “open mind”.


“I just want to add to what [departing chief executive Garry Poole] has done,” Dr Lavery said.

Dr Lavery, an Englishman of Irish descent, said criticism of his outsourcing council services during his four years as Cornwall Council chief executive was “unfair”.

The small amount of outsourcing he had done – in the council’s IT department and amalgamating back offices of three health providers and the council – was driven by a 35 per cent drop in central government funding, – $1 billion over four years.

“It’s not me trying to be theological about outsourcing. If I was ideological about it I would have done it four years ago.”

Since his appointment in Wellington was revealed by The Dominion Post earlier this month, Dr Lavery has been described as a “Marmite” bureaucrat, because people either loved or loathed him for the decisions he had made as head of the council.

“What people in Wellington need to understand is the UK has gone through a massive financial squeeze . . . We have had to make some really, really hard decisions. I make no apologies for doing that.”

Compared to England, Wellington was in a “great position to grow” and free of most of the financial strain that had forced privatisation in Cornwall, he said.

Wellington’s council was helped by being largely funded by local ratepayers, rather than the large central government subsidies English councils got – and lost much of.

Dr Lavery has also been praised for overseeing the transition from a county council overseeing six district councils into a single authority with 123 councillors.

He acknowledged that this experience was probably a factor in his appointment in Wellington, which is considering different forms of local government, including possible amalgamation.

But he said that was not the reason he was appointed, and he did not necessarily back amalgamation.

“For me, Wellington is big enough to pack a big enough punch without amalgamation.”

However, if amalgamation were decided on, he had the skills to make it successful, he said.

Dr Lavery, who has been appointed for five years in Wellington with an annual salary package of $400,000, confirmed the council paid for his trip to Wellington for the job interview on December 17.

The council had also agreed to provide a relocation package to move his family, including travel, relocation, and legal costs. Details were yet to be finalised. Dr Lavery would not disclose relocation costs, nor the cost of his flights.

He said the council would not pay for trips home to England.

The Laverys would initially rent a home in Wellington but would look to buy.

Dr Lavery said he, his wife Catherine, and sons Daniel, 12, and Jack, 10, would eventually be applying for New Zealand citizenship.

“I’m really looking forward to the sports scene,” he said, adding that Cornwall was a British rugby “hotbed”.

Asked whether he would switch affiliations to the All Blacks he replied: “Absolutely. Why not?”

Daniel was already a big rugby fan and would be enrolling in a Wellington high school. Jack was interested in hockey, fencing, and football.

Dr Lavery said he was neither Left nor Right wing. “I see my job to make sure we run the place professionally and manage it well.”


Lessons from Mauritius

December 28th, 2012

For over a decade, a stable macroeconomic environment and accommodative regulation in some sectors have drawn investors to Africa. Ease of doing profitable business is a function of an adequate legal framework. Hence investment institutions such as private equity firms have made Mauritius the hub for their pan-Africa activities.

Improvement in property rights, monetary freedom and fiscal prudence led to Mauritius’ stellar performance on the 2012 Index of Economic Freedom. The index, which has been compiled since 2001 by the Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based think tank, evaluates the economic freedom of countries in terms of rule of law, government intrusiveness, regulatory efficiency and the openness of markets.


Mauritius, an island state, ranked 8th in the global ranking, is the first country from sub-Sahara Africa to make the top 10. It topped the chart of 46 African countries.

What’s the secret to Mauritius’ impressive progress? A strong respect for the rule of law (the country’s “Independent Commission Against Corruption investigates offences, and can confiscate the proceeds of corruption and money laundering”). Income and tax rates are competitive: a flat 15 percent; regulation is efficient and openness to trade lures financial institutions. In terms of trade freedom, investment freedom, and financial freedom, it ranked 8th, 2nd and 17th respectively.

Politics and policy in this island with little or no natural resource, have been forwarding looking. Sugar, for some time, was the major export but the country has diversified by promoting free trade zones, exporting textiles (gloves and sweaters), information communication technology outsourcing, tourism, financial and business services and seafood processing.

Mauritius’ remote location was not a deterrent to developing a Business Process Outsourcing/Information Technology (BPO/IT) industry. This fact may be put to its Indian roots. Nevertheless, bandwidth cost and capacity help the country compete in the BPO/IT industry and as a result, provide employment opportunities. Foreign Direct Investment per person is larger than India. Mauritius is connected to the South Atlantic 3/West Africa Submarine Cable/South Africa Far East (SAT-3/WASC/SAFE) fibre optic cable system.

Mauritius may be small, its impact on Africa’s economy negligible, but coastal states in Africa’s supposed giant i.e, Lagos, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Cross River can learn from Mauritius, to, say, turn their seaside and cultural history into tourist attractions.

Lagos State, arguably is in the forefront of improving its financial and tourist credentials. Firstly, it recognises the importance of a functioning financial and legal system and has updated its law to permit limited liability partnerships and companies, has set up the Lagos State Partnerships Registry and the Lagos Multi-door Courthouse. These mechanisms, together with the Lagos Court of Arbitration, a private-sector initiative, should pull investors to Lagos.

Secondly, Lagos state is committed to correcting the perception about personal insecurity. Furthermore, Lagos is actively promoting itself, filling the perception vacuum with new things: laws, ideas (Kuramo Conference, Ignite TV), policies, products (Monopoly), art, science (Innovate Lagos, Lagos School of Transportation).


Pharma, IT/ITES, FMCG sectors to drive hiring in 2013

December 28th, 2012

The most middle to senior management jobs in 2012 were available in information technology/software services, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industries, and business process outsourcing/information technology enabled services, followed by real estate and pharmaceuticals/life sciences, according to a report.

The data is based on the searches conducted by employers on the portal during the last one year,, an Indian job search and career management portal exclusively for senior professionals, said in a report released today.

Indications are that the same sectors will likely drive hiring growth in 2013, it said.

Pharmaceuticals emerged as a power employer, replacing industries like telecom, which saw significant hiring in the previous year. The construction/real estate industry continues to see hiring despite slower growth, given the government’s thrust on infrastructure.

Foreign direct investment in retail, while providing an impetus to senior hiring in retail, is also expected to provide a boost to the real estate industry. Banking and finance is expected to spur employment on the back of the banking reforms bill.

Information technology professionals continue to be much in demand, with IT emerging as the top functional area for which employers are hiring. IT professionals are being recruited not just directly for the IT/software industry but also in support roles in a gamut of other industries. Sales and business development and HR professionals, too, were highly sought after in the year just ending.


HeiTech wins IT services contract

December 28th, 2012

HeiTech Padu Bhd has accepted a letter of award for the provision of services of master outsourcing agreement for IT services from Permodalan Nasional Bhd worth RM34mil.

In a statement to Bursa Malaysia yesterday, HeiTech said the contract is for a period of two years commencing from Jan 1, 2013 to Dec 31, 2014, with an option for an extension of one year upon the agreement of both parties.

“The proposed transaction will not have any material effect on HeiTech Group’s net asset for the financial year ending Dec 31 (FY12), but is expected to contribute positively to its future earnings,” it said.

HeiTech said the contract would have a positive effect on its earnings per share but it would have no material effect on the dividend policy, gearing, share capital and the substantial shareholders’ shareholdings for FY12.


Uncertain Future

December 28th, 2012

Indian IT companies will continue to see reduced discretionary spending and continued questions on what new the companies can offer in 2013

The $100-billion Indian IT sector is at crossroads. On the one hand, its growth rate for the fiscal 2013 is under severe pressure due to volatility in developed economies like the US and Europe. On the other, increasing questions are being asked on the revenue model of Indian IT companies and their relevance in the post Lehman era.

Indian companies who have grown during the times when cost reduction was the main mantra are slowly waking up to innovation, acquisition led growth and outcomes based business, in order to compete against their peers as well as multinational companies. Some conservative companies were forced to consider alternative strategies – like acquisitions and exploring newer revenue models to pursue growth.

Infosys, Cognizant, Wipro and Tech Mahindra all made acquisitions in 2012, with an eye on growth in 2013 and beyond. “I believe it’s time to drop the word conservative where Infosys is mentioned,” says Infosys CEO, SD Shibulal. Along with that, Infosys is sticking to its strategy of products, platforms and services, which would contribute to 30 per cent of its revenues going ahead, which would help the company maintain its high margin.

According to T K Kurien, CEO, IT services, Wipro Ltd, the offshoring business is getting commoditised and “we have to provide upfront differentiation of our services offerings in order to bag deals,” a fact which the bulk of the Indian IT sector agrees. According to Swami Krishnan, VP and Head, Marketing, Sasken, the challenge before IT firms would be to move from cost to value. “Companies that are closer to offering product development services for their clients will see an up tick in business,” he says.

To move up the value chain, companies like Cognizant, Wipro and Tech Mahindra have made acquisitions with an eye to get more consulting revenues, domain expertise and higher skilled manpower. Others are trying to achieve the same results in an organic manner. HCL Tech, which acquired Axon, an SAP consulting company in 2008 is going after deals that have the above mentioned expertise as a part of its strategy. “We have worked with number of companies on business outcomes based on our outsourcing work and this is an area that we will continue to build on,” says Shami Khorana, President, HCL America. However, he added that the company will look at a combination of regular outsourcing and outcomes-based outsourcing, in the future.

Reboot 2013

Some of the reasons, as to why companies are doing all this more aggressively, according to analysts, is due to the fact that companies who outsourced business functions are looking at something beyond cost reduction. “Outsourcing is undergoing a lot of changes and the focus should be on giving value to the client instead of merely lowering costs,” says Sanjoy Sen, Senior Director, Deloitte, India.

This is reflected in very low outsourcing spending in 2011 and 1012. According to Gartner, worldwide spending for IT outsourcing services will reach $251.7 billion in 2012, a mere 2.1 percent increase from 2011 spending of $246.6 billion. Global spending for IT outsourcing services was $315.8 billion in 2011, a growth of 7.7 per cent over 2010, indicating considerable slowdown in the outsourcing segment. Post the 2008 slowdown, flow of outsourcing work has reduced and the top four IT companies, on an average bagged about 40 clients in excess of $500 million in FY 12. Compared to that in 2007, the top four bagged about 100 deals in excess of $500 million.

IT executives are awaiting evidence that the tenuous economic recovery will progress before engaging in more strategic outsourcing initiatives, according to V Balakrishnan, Member of the Board and who heads the Infosys BPO, Finacle and India. However, on the ground, some companies are upbeat about 2013. Recently, when talking to reporters, TCS MD CEO, N Chandrasekaran said, “We feel that FY14 is going to be a better year.” While the company does not give out guidance (along with most other companies), TCS is confident of the fact that post the US presidential elections, there would be more focus on job and economic growth, which would drive outsourcing spends for IT companies.

While the outsourcing spends have been low as compared to previous years, companies are eying newer ways of dealing with these changing outsourcing dynamics. Balakrishnan explains, “Today there are two kinds of spending. One is efficiency in areas like Application Development and Maintenance (ADM), which contributes about 30 per cent of revenues to the sector. Secondly, innovation spending is happening.”

“If you can have a strong case on efficiency and innovation spending, you have a good combination,” sums up Peter Schumacher, CEO, Value Leadership Group.

Concerns remain

Despite the bullish attitude, analysts are still not convinced about the prospects of the sector going ahead. Analysts who BL spoke to felt that growth will be similar to that of FY 13. According to Nasscom, the Indian IT sector will grow in the range of 8-11 per cent in the FY 13 fiscal.

“Temporary suspension of work happening at key BFSI accounts which are the highest contributor to Indian IT revenues, reduced discretionary spending and value that Indian IT companies can bring to the table are concern areas going ahead,” says Ankita Somani, IT Analyst, Angel Broking. Others point out that deal flows will continue to be challenged in 2013. “US and Europe are not out of the woods and this will continue to impact revenue growth and margins for IT companies,” says A K Prabhakar, Senior Vice President – Equity Research. Infosys which had 31.7 per cent EBITDA margins in FY12 will see it going down to 27.9 per cent in FY14, according to a research by Elara Capital.

Shibulal is often quoted as saying that companies are living in a ‘new normal’. This means sluggish economic growth in the west, tighter outsourcing spends, more bang for the outsourcing buck, maintaining margins are some of the things that companies will have to live in this ‘new normal’ in 2013 like in 2012.


Why are doctors, actuaries and investment bankers joining WNS?

December 28th, 2012

A treat Oman army Meera graduate doctor in Walia Muscat of , first the . spent She . Then Armed in moved the India she first Forces decided and instead 12 then years Medical she to in of a no the her longer College Royal career wanted Army , Pune as an to of , patients , newly developing sector called business processing outsourcing (BPO), where she has remained for the past 12 years.

The last three have been with WNS, where she is senior general manager in charge of operations, research and analytics for the healthcare sector. “BPOs are great for work-life balance.

You have the flexibility to work at any time of the day and at your own pace, which is something I value,” she says. Based in Gurgaon, Walia leads 40 doctors, dentists, physiotherapists and pharmacists who are teamed up with 350 other experts, especially statisticians, to do work for WNS’s healthcare clients. Healthcare has emerged as one of the fastest growing sectors for BPOs and companies like WNS are now recruiting doctors in numbers.

“Our clients are doctors and they obviously like to interact with other doctors, not just at the sales level but also in operations. We expect to have over 1000 doctors within the next few years,” says group CEO Keshav Murugesh.

The first phase of the BPO wave put money into the pockets of a whole generation of 20-somethings willing to work odd hours at call centre jobs. That set is still going strong, but now BPOs are also attracting a different type — highly qualified professionals who want to sign up for the lifestyle the job offers.

This includes a structured work environment, fixed hours and levels of stress that are far lower than that in the outside world. A chartered accountant by qualification, Pooja Daryani has been with WNS for seven years, which makes her quite a veteran by BPO standards.

She gained experience in the equity research function at Ernst & Young and Goldman Sachs before she joined WNS, where is now general manager for operations, research and analytics for the consulting and professional services sector in Gurgaon, leading a team of 100 other chartered accountants and MBAs.

“A BPO job does provide better work-life balance than an investment bank. Our hiring ratio is currently 1:25, which means we have good employer branding,” she says.

Starting off as the captive BPO of British Airways and later bought over by private equity firm Warburg Pincus which took it public six years ago, WNS is an archetype in its field. It now employs over 25,000 people in ten countries, though a majority of its employees continue to be in India, spread across Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Nasik, Bangalore and Vizag.

Today , as it moves from basic to higher end services, WNS is typical of the Indian BPO story. Though the bulk of its workforce works on prosaic tasks, there are also a rising number engaged in what is now called Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO).

“We don’t want to be techno-coolies any longer,” says Murugesh. “Earlier, our clients would tell us what to do and we would bill them on the basis of the number of people required to do their job.

Today, we are partnering with clients, offering them the services of more qualified people, where billing is based on outcomes. Those who liked our plain vanilla offerings are now ready to buy into something more complex.”

Anupam Chatterjee graduated from Presidency College, Kolkata, in 2002, after which he started his MBA from HEC Paris and then transferred to MIT Sloan, where he specialized in analytics.


Waller elects five new partners

December 28th, 2012

Waller, Nashville’s oldest and largest law firm, has elected five new attorneys as partners. Each attorney was previously an associate at the firm:

Steven Connor joined Waller in 2005 and is in the firm’s finance and restructuring group. He focuses his practice on corporate governance, bankruptcy and corporate restructuring, commercial finance, and healthcare securities. He earned his J.D. from the University of Washington and his B.S. from Lipscomb University.

Jeb Gerth is a labor and employment attorney who has been with Waller since 2005. He works with a variety of employers across the automotive and manufacturing, retail, utilities, wireless telecommunications, and health care industries. His practice focuses on discrimination and harassment, labor disputes, FLSA, and labor and employment class actions. Gerth earned his J.D. from the University of Tennessee and his B.A. from Belmont University.

Justin McNaughton joined Waller in 2006 and focuses his practice on intellectual property, copyrights, patents, software licensing and IT outsourcing, trade secrets and trademarks. He practices within the automotive and manufacturing, banking and financial, and health care industries. He earned his J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis and his B.S. from Brigham Young University.

John Park joined Waller in 2008 and is in the firm’s labor and employment practice group. He serves the automotive and manufacturing, health care, real estate, retail, and wireless telecommunications industries. He focuses his practice primarily on discrimination and harassment, labor disputes, labor and employment class actions, and FLSA. Park earned his J.D. and M.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, and his B.B.A from the University of Texas at Austin.

Keith Thompson has been with Waller since 2005. As an attorney in Waller’s corporate practice, Thompson focuses on corporate governance, securities, and mergers and acquisitions. He represents a wide range of health care clients, including behavioral care providers, hospitals and health systems, and outpatient health service providers. He also advises companies in the automotive and manufacturing industries. He earned his J.D. from the University of Tennessee and his B.A. from Wake Forest University.

Blaylock elected head of veterinary group

Robert L. Blaylock, DVM, owner of Animal Care Veterinary Hospital in Murfreesboro, has been elected president of the National Association for Veterinary Family Practice (AVFP).

Formed in 2006, the AVFP seeks to optimize the quality of the lives of pets in human families and communities by advancing the role of primary veterinary care. It focuses on the non-biomedical knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to address the health care needs of pets.

He will serve a two-year term.

Blaylock practiced large and small animal medicine in Paris, Tenn., before moving to Murfreesboro in 1994. He became practice owner of Animal Care Veterinary Hospital, Inc. (formerly Jackson Animal Care Clinic) in 1999.

Hobson selected to lead state soccer association

Franklin resident Hans Hobson has been hired as the executive director of the Tennessee State Soccer Association. He will begin his new role Jan. 1.

Hobson has more than a decade of experience with youth soccer in Tennessee, as well as coaching and leadership roles in the state’s most competitive clubs. His youth soccer experience includes stints as girls director of coaching for Brentwood/Franklin-based Tennessee Soccer Club, director of coaching for Brentwood Soccer Club, assistant director of coaching for Knoxville Football Club and assistant director of coaching for Diadora Impact Soccer Club.

Before his involvement in youth soccer programs, Hobson was Assistant Men’s and Women’s Soccer Coach at Milligan College.

Corizon announces new vice president

Corizon, a provider of correctional health care solutions, has promoted Lorie White to vice president of talent management and organization development.

In her new role, White is responsible for all recruitment, clinical and leadership training, and organization development for the company. She is also the designated HR lead for Corizon’s new contract with the Florida Department of Corrections.

White has served in the health care industry for more than 30 years and has been with Corizon since 2008. She earned her master’s in education from Washington University.

LBMC adds to staff in Brentwood office

Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain, PC, one of the Southeast’s largest accounting and business consulting firms, has announced four personnel changes for its Brentwood office:

Mindy Vail has joined the firm as e-marketing/web coordinator in the Shared Services Marketing Department.

She previously worked with Community Health Systems (CHS) as a website developer and webmaster at Tennessee Society Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA). Originally from Mayfield, KY, Mindy is a graduate of Murray State University.

Donovan Sargent is a network system engineer with a specialty in small business and enterprise technology.

He comes to LBMC with more than 15 years of experience in design, implementation, administration and management of information systems. Originally from College Grove, Sargent is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.

Matt Denney, CPA, has joined the firm as manager in the tax services division, where he will be working in a variety of industries serving individuals and large multi-national corporations.

He comes to LBMC from Deloitte, where he served in the business tax services division for seven years. Originally from Hendersonville, he is a graduate of the University of Tennessee.

Will Harvey has been hired as a business intelligence/data warehouse senior consultant and will primarily be focused on designing high-end solutions using the Microsoft SharePoint and SQL Server BI Enterprise Development Technologies.

Most recently, he served as a business intelligence analyst for Onlife Health, a subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield. Originally from Naples, Fla., Will is a graduate of Vanderbilt University.

Eight members join entrepreneur group

The Nashville chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) announced the addition of eight new members to its group of Middle Tennessee business owners, bringing a combined $28,580,000 in annual sales and 127 full-time employees to the group’s ranks.

Three-fourths of the new member companies are located in Williamson Country, with the remaining fourth calling Davidson County home.

The Nashville EO chapter has a total of 113 members. To join, an entrepreneur must be a founder, co-founder, owner or controlling shareholder of a company with gross annual sales exceeding $1 million.

The eight new members are:

Tom Beach, CEO of City Saver, a marketing company that produces coupon books and smartphone applications that help schools raise funds. Founded in 2004, City Saver’s products have raised more than $8 million for local schools and charities.

David Box, co-founder and principal of Trinisys, a software company that provides a data capture, integration and rapid Web development platform. He is a software developer turned entrepreneur, having founded Trinisys in 2004.

William Kirkland, who founded The Kirkland Company in 2007. The real estate brokerage firm specializes in selling apartment communities.

Greg Luken, CEO of Luken, a firm that handles the financial affairs for a select group of families. He is a native of Elizabethtown, Ky.

Brian Murphy, who founded the technical staffing firm Vertek Solutions, Inc. in 2006. The firm specializes in IT, telecommunications and engineering.

Timothy Adam Sinks, president and co-founder of Full Circle Disposal, LLC, a waste management company that hauls and disposes of construction and demolition waste.

Ricky Scott, partner and owner of The Kingston Group, a residential construction, development and investment group. A custom remodeler and builder, Scott founded The Kingston Group in 2007 with business partner Robbie Edwards.

Wesley Shutt, who serves as president and CEO of the financial services firm Capital Accounts. Formed in 2003, Capital Accounts specializes in collection services and payment processing.

Civil Site Design hires project manager

Sean DeCoster has joined Civil Site Design Group, PLLC, a civil engineering, planning and design firm headquartered in Nashville, as a project manager. DeCoster will manage one of the firm’s residential and site-development groups.

Prior to joining Civil Site Design Group, DeCoster was a project manager at Littlejohn Engineering Associates. He has 18 years of experience in the design of residential subdivisions, commercial centers and mixed-use developments. In addition, DeCoster has an extensive background in the preparation and approval of storm water pollution and prevention plans, aquatic resource alteration permits, and national pollutant discharge elimination system notice of intent applications for a variety of project types.

Two promoted at DVL Public Relations

DVL Public Relations & Advertising has promoted Kristin Robinson and Michael Graham.

Robinson has been promoted from account executive to account supervisor. She joined DVL in 2009 and provides clients with experience in media and community relations, branding and events.

She has worked with clients in the entertainment, sports, food and beverage and nonprofit industries.

Graham, who joined DVL in 2009, has been promoted from assistant account executive to account executive. His experience includes media relations, logo and brand development and strategic event planning and execution.

Graham currently works with clients in the public works, retail, food and beverage, sports and automotive industries.

Baker Donelson adds to public policy group

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, has added M. Adam Jaynes to the Firm’s Nashville office.

Jaynes, who joins as a public policy advisor in the firm’s State Public Policy Group, previously served as a legislative analyst for the state Department of Health and has worked on numerous national and state senate campaigns. He is chairman of the Davidson County Young Republicans.


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