Expatriate executives, who were the flavour of the season when India was riding high on a 9%-plus growth rate, are now becoming the first ones to get the pink slip as Indian industry, hit by the slowdown, starts looking within the country for inexpensive hires.
“Many of the expatriate executives, who have been asked to leave, are subject experts. Their value diminishes in a downturn as companies are no more expanding, and thus don’t need people to guide in a new venture,” says K Sudarshan, MD of executive search firm EMA Partners’ India unit.
Since October 2008, there has been a spate of replacements of expat executives with Indian professionals at the senior level.
Aviva Life Insurance appointed former Citibank executive TR Ramachandran to replace Bert Paterson as the CEO for its Indian operations. Insurance firm MetLife replaced its CFO Nick Paket with an Indian hire. And, according to executive search firms, two top expatriate executives of another insurance firm are slated to leave in March, to be replaced by Indians.
Aditya Birla Retail is reportedly hiring an Indian executive from a beverage company to head its supermarket chain More, which was earlier led by Andrew Denby. Delhi-based Dabur Retail’s top three ex-pats, including CEO Peter Baker, have been replaced by Indian hires.