Mistry denies filing any caveat on removal from Tata Sons

Oct 25, 2016 0

Mumbai– Industrialist Cyrus P. Mistry on Tuesday denied that he has filed any caveat pertaining to his removal as Chairman of Tata Sons.

“Cyrus (Mistry) has not filed any caveats. He has already made a statement that such concerns are misplaced at this stage,” his office said here.

Cyrus P. Mistry

Cyrus P. Mistry

A caveat is a notice filed by a party fearing legal action and seeking to be notified before action is taken.

The Tatas have filed caveats seeking notice from Cyrus Mistry fearing legal action, his office said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Shapoorji Pallonji Group said it was “studying the circumstance” of the unexpected corporate coup.

“Neither the SP Group nor Cyrus Mistry has made any statement yet. While the circumstances are being studied, there is no basis to media speculation about litigation at this stage,” an official spokesperson for Shapoorji Pallonji Group said.

The company added that a public statement would be made as and when it would be necessary.

In a bolt from the blue, the conglomerate Tata Sons on Monday announced its board had replaced Mistry as the company Chairman, and named Ratan N. Tata as Interim Chairman of the company. Ratan Tata is Chairman Emeritus of the group.

The Board also constituted a Selection Committee to choose a new Chairman for Tata Sons comprising Ratan N. Tata, Venu Srinivasan, Amit Chandra, Ronen Sen and Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya.

The committee, set up as per the criteria in the Articles of Association of Tata Sons, has been mandated to complete the selection process in four months.

Mistry, 48, born in Ireland, had taken over as Chairman of Tata Sons barely four years ago, in December 2012. (IANS)

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In a surprise move, Tata Sons replaces Cyrus Mistry, Ratan Tata to be interim chairman

Oct 24, 2016 0

Mumbai–In a surprise move, industrial conglomerate Tata Sons on Monday replaced Cyrus P. Mistry as its Chairman and named Ratan Tata as the interim chairman of the company.

The decision was taken at the company’s board meeting, a statement said here. A committee has been formed to select the next chairman within four months.

“The committee comprises Ratan N. Tata, Venu Srinivasan, Amit Chandra, Ronen Sen and Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, as per the criteria in the Articles of Association of Tata Sons. The committee has been mandated to complete the selection process in four months,” the company statement said.

Ratan Tata

Ratan Tata

Corporate India reacted with amazement at the announcement. Harsh Goenka, Chairman of RPG Enterprises, described the move as a corporate coup. “Historical corporate letter. Biggest corporate coup executed with utmost precision,” he said in a tweet.

Mistry, 48, an Irish-Indian citizen, had taken over as Chairman of Tata Sons four years ago in December 2012. Ratan Tata, who led the group for 21 long years, is the Chairman Emeritus of the conglomerate.

He is the younger son of Pallonji Mistry, whose construction company Shapoorji Pallonji & Co is the largest shareholder of Tata Sons, with a stake of around 18 per cent.

Mistry was replaced keeping in mind the “long-term interest” of the company, according to a Tata Sons spokesperson.

“The company’s board and the principal shareholders in their collective wisdom took this decision, which they thought may be appropriate in the long term interest of Tata Sons and the Tata Group,” the company spokesperson told IANS.

“There is no change in the CEOs at the operating level,” the spokesperson added.

Mistry, on his appointment in Tata Sons in 2012, had relinquished his position as managing director of Shapoorji Pallonji, to avoid any conflict of interest.

His father Pallonji had been a passive investor in Tata Sons, although he sat on its board till 2006, when he retired and ceded the position to Cyrus.

Mistry became the sixth chairman of the group and the second who did not have the name of Tata, after Nowroji Saklatwala. The Economist once described him as “the most important industrialist” in both India and Britain. But it also described him as being “dangerously content just to sit atop what has grown into an impressive but lumbering pachyderm.”

Mistry took over from Ratan Tata at a time when some of the group’s main companies were facing tough operating environments, and his major challenge was to turn around the group’s international steel business and to consolidate the other businesses. The $100 billion group employs some 700,000 persons.

In an interview to the Tata Group’s online platform last month, Mistry said that the high debt levels of some group companies should be seen in the context of business growth, increasing cash from operations, and capital projects underway which will lead to future growth.

“As the group has been growing significantly in the past, the total capital employed has also grown. Proportionately, there has been increase in debt.”

In September this year, Tata Steel reported a 10-fold jump in its net loss to Rs 3,183 crore in the quarter ended June 30, as compared to a net loss of Rs 317 crore in the corresponding quarter last year.

Reacting to the knee-jerk move, Goenka said it was a “strange” news. “Ta-ta to Cyrus Mistry. Uncertainty in India’s most respected group not good for the nation. What’s happened to Cyrus is a ‘Mistry’!” Goenka tweeted. (IANS)

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Kumar Mangalam Birla new IIM-Ahmedabad Chairman

Oct 22, 2016 0

Ahmedabad– Kumar Mangalam Birla, the 49-year-old Chairman of the $41 billion industrial conglomerate Aditya Birla Group, has been named the new Chairman of the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), according to a Human Resource Development Ministry statement.

The premier B-school has been without a regular Chairman since January when A.M. Naik, the CMD of Larsen & Toubro, quit citing “paucity of time”.

Kumar Mangalam Birla

Kumar Mangalam Birla

The IIM chairmanship is normally a non-executive position and the role primarily involves presiding over Board of Governors meetings and acting as IIM spokesperson. The Chairperson also takes up the issues of the institute with the Union government.

Though he has no formal authority, the Chairperson can set the agenda by guiding discussions and influencing the direction of the institute.

A search committee to select the IIM-A Chairman was formed soon after Naik’s resignation. the panel included Naik as its head, with Sanjay Lalbhai of the Arvind Group, Pankaj Patel of Zydus Cadila and D. Shivakumar of Pepsico India as members.

The committee shortlisted the names of Deepak Parekh, Chairman of Housing Development Finance Corporation; R. Seshasayee of Infosys and Pawan Munjal, the CMD of Hero Motocorp. However, the HRD Ministry, then headed by Smriti Irani, had rejected the list.

Later, a new three-member panel headed by Pankaj Patel was constituted. The panel dropped the name of Munjal and included that of Kumar Mangalam Birla instead.

The names were discussed and approved by the institute’s Board of Governors in late September and sent to the HRD Ministry for approval, as stipulated by the Memorandum of Association (MOA) between the IIM-A and the Ministry.

A discussion on the matter is believed to have taken place with incumbent HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar on his recent visit to the IIM-A. (IANS)

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Now India to train plumbers for global market

Oct 22, 2016 0

New Delhi–Indian Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy on Saturday said the government will provide training to plumbers in various skills required to compete in the global market.

Rudy, Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, was speaking at a National Plumbing Skill Conclave here.

Rajiv Pratap Rudy

Rajiv Pratap Rudy

“This is an initiative towards Skill India mission. We want to train 40 crore youth in various skills. Plumbing as an industry has never got its due in India,” he said.

“We have decided to provide quality training and development to the youth about plumbing,” the Minister said.

He said the government wishes to support plumbers through easy bank loans so that they are equipped with best tools and can become self-employed.

Speaking on preparing plumbers for the global market, Rudy said: “We want to create best quality plumbing professionals who can work not only in India but also in other parts of the world.”

He advised the Indian Plumbing Skill Council (IPSC) to provide training in language and laws of other countries so that they can function without any hassle.

IPSC is an industry body which provides certified training to plumbers and is one of the 40 Skill Councils under the National Skill Development Corporation which is part of the Skill India programme of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

Maj. Gen. P.K. Chaddha (Retd), officiating CEO of IPSC, said: “About 90 per cent of the plumbing industry workforce in India is not professionally trained. Most of the skill learning in the industry happens through unstructured, on-the job training.”

“The plumbing industry faces the mammoth challenge of huge gap between supply and demand of skilled workforce,” he added.

Through Skill Mela & Conclave, IPSC is creating different types of competitions among plumbers and will select six teams each from Delhi and Hyderabad. Of these teams, one winning team would participate in the World Skills Competition which will be held at Abu Dhabi on October 14-19, 2017.

IPSC is creating National Occupational Standards (NOS), development of training curriculum, and developing the job roles which are in demand in India and abroad.

The market of plumbing products in India is estimated at Rs 20,000 crore.

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Ex-HCL honcho floats Rs 100-crore venture fund

Oct 22, 2016 0

New Delhi– HCL Technologies former Chief Executive Anant Gupta on Friday announced a Rs 100-crore venture fund for developing disruptive products and businesses through his new technology investment firm TechCelx.

“As an integrated business acceleration and investment firm, we will focus on developing digital technology products and platforms in enterprises,” said TechClex Founder Chairman and Chief Executive Gupta in a statement here.

Anant Gupta

Anant Gupta

The company will also invest in ventures which will specialise in machine learning, IoT (Internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence), Analytics and Data Science and Automaton across banking, education and healthcare verticals.

“Our vision is to help start-ups develop and apply next-gen technology solutions to disrupt legacy operating models,” asserted Gupta.

Gupta is backed by three industry partners from investment banking and IT sectors in the new venture fund.

“We will invest between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 10 crore in disruptive technology ventures and the shareholding will range between 15-51% per cent,” said Gupta.

An industry veteran, Gupta was also a co-founder of Comnet, a tech start-up. (IANS)

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With reforms, India can become centre for international arbitrations: President

Oct 22, 2016 0

New Delhi–While India has the basic legal and physical infrastructure to support international arbitrations, it only needs basic institutional reforms to strengthen its arbitration framework, President Pranab Mukherjee observed here on Friday.

While inaugurating a three-day global conference on “National Initiative Towards Strengthening Arbitration and Enforcement in India”, Mukherjee said that arbitral institutions needed to partner with the Indian legal profession to expand their footprint.

Pranab Mukherjee

Pranab Mukherjee

“Arbitral institutions need to proactively nurture and expand the pool of arbitrators to include subject matter expertise in sectors like infrastructure, energy and finance. This will in the long run help build confidence in the arbitration ecosystem of India,” said the President.

He also said that Indian courts need to devise an administrative mechanism to ensure that arbitration matters are handled separately and efficiently, so as to avoid any delay arising out of judicial intervention.

Speaking earlier, Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur called for a modern and state-of-the-art arbitration regime to bolster India’s foreign investment future.

“Promoting institutional arbitration will help India emerge as a preferred destination for arbitral adjudication. Studies show that foreign investors consider India as a preferred foreign portfolio investment amongst the emerging markets,” the Chief Justice said.

“Investment future looks promising provided we are ready to deliver dispute resolution to the satisfaction of the foreign investing partners,” he added.

He also said that the perception of Indian courts interfering with arbitral awards is fast changing.

Speaking at the event, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that being the world’s fastest growing economy with an independent and powerful judiciary, right laws in place and sufficient infrastructure, there is no reason that India cannot become an important arbitration centre in the world.

“As an economy which is attracting investment, as the world’s fastest growing economy, disputes in relation to that economy should take place in India. Since India has an independent and powerful judiciary, there is no reason we can’t have a robust and independent arbitral mechanisms in India,” Jaitley said.

He said that some of the recent pronouncements of the Indian courts related to business disputes “are testimony to the fact our judicial and quasi-judicial system has shown maturity that can a long way” in making India an important arbitration centre.

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Gridco Systems Closes $12 Million in New Funding to Grow its Global Footprint

Oct 21, 2016 0

WOBURN, MA- – Gridco Systems, a grid infrastructure solutions provider for electric power distribution system operators, has received a new $12 million round of funding from multiple investors. Gridco has now raised more than $54 million since its founding in 2010, the company said in a statement earlier this month.

“This new funding will enable Gridco to expand the markets for our proven technology solutions in North America and Europe, while providing the capital to support continued commercial growth,” said Naimish Patel, Gridco Systems CEO.

Naimish Patel

Naimish Patel

Patel is the founder of Gridco Systems. Previously, he was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence  at General Catalyst Partners where he focused on investment opportunities in clean technology, advanced materials, and life sciences.  Prior to joining General Catalyst, Patel was one of the four founding team members of Sycamore Networks.

The investor group comprises existing Gridco investors General Catalyst, Lux Capital and North Bridge Venture Partners, as well as one of the world’s largest private family investment offices. It also includes a new strategic investor, the global market leader in power transformer regulation, Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen GmbH (MR).

“Gridco and MR share the vision of enabling utilities to build and operate agile, flexible, efficient grids,” said Michael Rohde, Managing Director of MR. “We are looking forward to jointly exploring synergy potentials for the benefit of our customers in the U.S. and internationally.”

Over the past year, Gridco has launched several new power regulation products, leveraging its expertise in power electronics and distributed controls to address challenges facing distribution system operators worldwide. The new products include the Gridco Systems SVC-20 Static VAR Compensator™; the IPR-150, a 150 kVA three-phase Inline Power Regulator™; and the PRT-50, a 50 kVA integrated Power Regulating Transformer™. The company has also expanded field deployments of its flagship IPR-50 system, with a customer base of more than a dozen utilities.

Gridco won GTM Research’s Grid Edge 20 Award for the third year in a row, and was the supplier of IPRs to Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), which won Powergrid International’s 2016 Project of the Year Award for Renewable Energy Integration. This month, Dr. Dora Nakafuji, HECO’s Director of Renewable Energy Planning and the architect of the utility’s renewable integration program, received the prestigious 2016 Solar Champion Award from the Smart Electric Power Alliance.

Gridco Systems is a provider of grid infrastructure solutions, enabling utilities to more effectively integrate renewable and distributed generation, increase energy efficiency, manage peak capacity, and improve system reliability.

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Microsoft opens Cybersecurity Engagement Center in India

Oct 21, 2016 0

New Delhi–At a time when governments the world over are struggling to tackle cyber attacks and data breach, technology giant Microsoft India on Friday launched a full-scale Cybersecurity Engagement Centre (CSEC) in India.

After a successful year-long pilot – – the centre is India’s first and Microsoft’s seventh Cybersecurity Centre globally — opened at a juncture when over three million debit cards of various banks are believed to be ‘tainted’ following a suspected security breach in the country.

“We believe security of critical information is imperative for our corporate customers, just as it is vital to ensure security and privacy of citizen data and transactions. Our first investment towards this was setting up our local data centres in India and the Cybersecurity Engagement Center is the second,” Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India, told reporters here.

Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India (right) with Anant Maheshwari, President Microsoft India at the launch of the Cyber Security Engagement Centre in New Delhi.

Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India (right) with Anant Maheshwari, President Microsoft India at the launch of the Cyber Security Engagement Centre in New Delhi.

While answering a question regarding the existing cyber laws in India, Pramanik told IANS: “The Indian cyberlaws are stringent and there is a need to educate corporates about Microsoft’s three-pronged approach of comprehensive platform, unique intelligence and partnerships”.

Microsoft’s strategy is to provide protection across all end-points — from sensors to the data centre, detection of attack using targeted signals, behavioural monitoring and machine learning – and eventually closing the gap between discovery and action taken to neutralise the attack.

According to the leading software security group Kaspersky Lab, India is among the top five countries in the world to be attacked by ransomware — malware that forces its victims to pay a ransom through certain online payment methods to regain their data.

In the last 12 months, Microsoft’s cybersecurity management team met with over 100 organisations in the country to understand what plagued them.

“The team observed three common IT issues plaguing them that include unmanaged and unregulated IT assets usage, procurement and maintenance, poor knowledge of cyber hygiene among users withing organisations and inability of companies to timely monitor, detect and remove cyber threats,” the company said.

The CSEC will bring together Microsoft and its partners to identify and respond to cyber threats in the country.

“As governments and enterprise embrace digital transformation and strive for resilience, a holistic and agile security platform is ever more critical. This is where Microsoft’s unique threat intelligence innovations and trusted cloud ecosystem offer them powerful protection against security threats,” added Madhu Khatri, Associate General Counsel of Microsoft India.

In addition to enabling and empowering enterprises to manage modern security threats effectively, the CSEC aims to expand Microsoft’s public-private partnerships in India.

The centre will also enable customers tap into a pool of resources such as security specialists and technologies at Microsoft.

As part of Microsoft Consultancy Services (MCS), a dedicated India-based response team will offer security consultancy services to enterprise customers.

Microsoft has also rolled out Microsoft Secure, a nationwide campaign to increase awareness on cybersecurity to help organisations understand their security requirements better.

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Indian American hotelier Vikram Chatwal accused of singeing two dogs

Oct 20, 2016 0

New York– High-flying Indian-American hotelier Vikram Chatwal has been arrested for trying to torch two small dogs outside his SoHo condo.

Chatwal, 44, posted a $50,000 bail and walked out of Manhattan criminal court on Tuesday.

Founder of the Dream Hotel Group, Chatwal was charged with animal torture, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment for the October 7 attack on Wooster St. near Grand St.

Vikram Chatwal (Photo: Wikipedia)

Vikram Chatwal (Photo: Wikipedia)

On Tuesday, Chatwal, attired in white with a grey vest, stood silently before Judge Steve Statsinger, who issued an order of protection for the two dogs — Molly and Finnegan– their owner and their dog walker, the New York Daily News reported.

Chatwal’s attorney said his client was a lifetime animal lover who suffers from a bipolar disorder but would never harm an animal.

The paper quoted witnesses as saying that Chatwal, who has a reputation for partying at clubs and dating models like Esther Cañadas, stormed up to two Jack Russell Terriers being walked outside his home at about 11.30 a.m. and singed the dogs’ fur with a blow torch that he put together from an aerosol can and a lighter, the daily reported.

The dogs suffered minor injuries when their fur was burned, officials said.

The businessman turned himself in at the 5th Precinct station house in Chinatown, with a lawyer, an NYPD spokesman said.

The hospitality magnate founded The Dream Hotel Group, which includes the Dream, Time and Unscripted hotels.

He was arrested for drug possession in 2013 at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport after TSA agents allegedly caught him trying to board a plane with heroin, cocaine and prescription pills.

He faced as many as 20 years in prison, but the case was dismissed after he completed a rehab programme in New York, the New York Post reported. (IANS)

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Chandrababu Naidu, family own assets worth Rs 74 crore

Oct 19, 2016 0

Vijayawada–Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and his family members together own assets of Rs 74 crore.

His son Nara Lokesh on Wednesday announced family assets for the sixth consecutive year.

Naidu’s assets are worth Rs 3.73 crore, including a house in posh Jubilee Hills in Hyderabad worth Rs 3.68 crore.

N. Chandrababu Naidu

N. Chandrababu Naidu

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief owns an ambassador car worth Rs 1.52 lakh. He also has a bank loan due of Rs 3.06 crore, thus leaving him with net assets of Rs 67 lakh against Rs 42 lakh declared last year.

Naidu’s wife Bhuvaneswari, the Managing Director of Heritage Foods, owns assets worth Rs 38.66 crore while her liabilities are to the tune of Rs 13 crore.

Bhuvaneswari’s assets include Rs 19.95 crore in shares of Heritage Foods. She also has investment of Rs 3.23 crore in other companies.

Lokesh, the General Secretary of TDP, owns assets worth Rs 14.50 crore while liabilities total Rs 6.35 crore. He has Rs 2.52-crore investment in Heritage Foods and Rs 1.64 crore in other companies.

Lokesh’s wife Brahmini owns assets of Rs 5.38 crore, including a house in Jubliee Hills (Hyderabad) valued at Rs 3.50 crore. She owns land in Manikonda and Madhapur, both in Hyderabad, worth Rs 1.40 crore.

Lokesh also declared assets in the name of his son Nara Devaansh, born last year.

The one-and-half-year old owns Rs 9.17 crore house in Jubliee Hills (Hyderabad). He also has fixed deposits of Rs 2.4 crore in his name.

Naidu’s grandson also has Rs 2.31 lakh in cash to his credit.

Lokesh said whether in opposition or in power, they always declared their assets voluntarily.

He slammed the YSR Congress Party for the allegations that they own huge properties in benami. He said if anybody proved that the family own more assets than what they have declared, they would transfer the same to him.

Lokesh denied that he was interfering in the state administration. He said it was for the party politburo to decide whether to induct him in the cabinet or not.

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