Woman in Power
Mary Barra, the Chief Executive of General Motors, was elevated as the Chairman of the Board on January 5, making her the first woman ever to head a global auto company. Under her leadership, the largest automaker in the US has managed to drive past its worst safety-related crisis - the defective ignition switches that resulted in 124 deaths. She scripted a successful revival of the company that had gone bankrupt in 2009, thought it is far from regaining its dominant position in the international auto market. GM's past record with heads holding both the CEO and Chairman's position has not been very pleasant. Yet, as an insider who has risen through the ranks, Barra has a better chance to succeed.
The Founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is known to publicly take up a challenge at the start of every year. In 2016, he wants to build an artificially intelligent butler along the lines of Jarvis from Hollywood superhero movie Iron Man. This "simple AI," as Zuckerberg calls it, will help him run his house and assist him at work. "I'm going to start by exploring what technology is already out there. Then I'll start teaching it to understand my voice to control everything in our home - music, lights, temperature and so on. I'll teach it to let friends in by looking at their faces when they ring the doorbell, to let me know if anything is going on in Max's (his daughter) room that I need to check on when I'm not with her. On the work side, it'll help me visualise data in VR, to help me build better services and lead my organisations more effectively," Zuckerberg wrote on his official Facebook page.
Flipkart co-founders Sachin and Binny Bansal seem to be on a fundraising spree yet again. Latest reports suggest that the company is looking to raise over $1 billion to maintain its leadership position in the fiercely competitive Indian e-commerce market. The online retailer has already raised $4 billion and plans to end 2015/16 by selling goods worth $12 billion. The Bansals, who are college friends, also have plans to diversify into online grocery delivery and mobile wallet businesses.
Home-grown IT consulting and business processing services major Wipro and the India business of online professional networking platform LinkedIn will have new bosses in 2016. Abidali Neemchuwala, Wipro's Group President and Chief Operating Officer, will become the company's CEO come February. Akshay Kothari, the Principal Product Manager of LinkedIn, assumed charge as its India head recently. While Neemchuwala had joined Wipro from Tata Consultancy Services in 2015, Kothari became part of LinkedIn in 2013.
End of an Era
With the passing away of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7, Jammu & Kashmir has lost a Chief Minister who was known for development initiatives in one of India's most troubled states. What it means for the PDP and BJP coalition government is anyone's guess. His daughter Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed is likely to take over as the new CM. And, if that happens, she will be J&K's first woman chief minister.