Rumble at the top

The cover story is about the sectors which are experiencing the most pain of CXO layoffs this year

A few years ago, when the world looked rosy and India’s demographic dividend was lauded as an unbeatable advantage, almost every business in the country positioned itself for hyper growth. Companies outbid each other to hire the ‘right’ chieftains, paid generously and set sky-high expectations. But with numerous holes showing up in the India growth story, a seemingly harmonious existence has turned bitter.

The current wave of resentment and bad blood between owners and top managers is an outcome of growth targets not being met. As the public sector is devoid of any accountability, almost all the turmoil, by default, is in the private sector. Across industries, an intensely combative cost-benefit debate is in progress. Now, just about everyone and almost everything is being questioned. And the solution no longer lies in cutting cost at the fringe, shutting a few stores or discontinuing some non-performing products or services.

Over the past few months, this pressure is becoming visible in the corner office of many Indian and foreign companies. Churn at the CXO level has gone up substantially in the past year and it is unlikely that this trend will reverse in the current financial year. Many chief executives who have had an untimely exit are finding it difficult to find equally well-paying jobs and are seriously contemplating pursuing their own ventures. But, given the tough business environment, that’s easier said than done. Companies, too, are struggling to find worthy replacements within their trimmed hiring budgets. To know which sectors are experiencing the most pain, read our cover story : Waiting to explode

All that pessimism is being reflected in the stock market. The expert view emerging from the IAIP annual forecast event is that despite signs of the economy bottoming out, recovery is still some time away. The fact that we are just a year away from the 2014 parliamentary elections also brings in its own share of uncertainty and challenges. Read our visit note: Caught between a rock and a hard place