Q&A With BCCL CEO Ravi Dhariwal: No Financial Squeeze, Just Cash Flow Issues

26 Comments

Soon after he announced salary cuts that would affect more than 8,000 staffers, we did a Q&A over the telephone with Ravi Dhariwal, CEO of Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd, now a billion dollar company. BCCL’s publications include The Times of India and The Economic Times–two of India’s highest circulated English dailies. He says the measures announced today have been taken more to “get people to think along our lines” than for any material benefits. He thinks today’s measure won’t impact the company’s talent retention capabilities and says nobody could have predicted today’s business environment. Excerpts:

Do the measures you announced today indicate that the company is in a financial squeeze, and if so, what does it mean for the other projects the company is working on? Will ET Now be affected?

Not at all. The salary cuts don

26 Comments

pola pola

I donno why do people think that the pay cut was only for the So called old and Loya l employees….we had joined BCCL cause of the good pay pakage that we got ..but ulitmatetly wht we got is a big pay cut within 2 months of joining…no increment…variabel pay has been reviced…Plus to add all this non sense our company is also cutting our leaves on late coming…Why the hell no one see that we work for almpost 14 hours in a day …we work on saturdays and sundays..for compensation..it is so Damn frustrating that not even once a employee is involved in any kind of decision the comp takes….Its my worst carreer move ……

Sai Ram

I guess…it is human tendeny when things are going good..e'thing is fair and nobody makes any hue and cry.. but when things go wrong.. e'body starts blaming others. .. One requires lots of guts to face it and say yes.. things went wrong but I am trying my level best to counter it.. evolve new strategies.. plans so as to tell people why BCCL is the largest media group in india and to ensure that it stays there. Though having said that I must say that a good Manager's is one who forsees/anticipates the future and evolve a strategy/plan to minimize the risks and gains maximum by optimally utilizing the resources in hand. There are ppl who are getting in lakhs & lakhs/crores just for that purpose only… plz. try to fix responsibility first rather than sacking/cutting salary across board till bottomline

Alok

Dudes and Dudettes,
Stop pontificating get real. the truth is life is never fair. the company holds the rights to act as it sees fit as per the environment. if you dont like the heat get out of the kitchen.
As far as people who have stayed years in the same org and now are saying they were loyal the truth is look at yourself in the MIRROR. You stayed in the same company during a boom time because no one was interested in taking you and the reason you are not leaving now is the same.
No one anticipated or planne for a global recession and if anyone of you are saying you saw it coming then you are god. things were good and the global story looked good so stop blaming CEOs and others.
yes i do hope that they are putting their money where their mouth is and are working on a Re1 salary for the year.

the questionaire

1. Will RD reveal details of all the investments (in unrelated business) made by BCCL in different companies last year? Their worth now? Who took these decisions? Are they still with organisation? (If they are, God save BCCL)
2. When newsprint prices have crashed why is RD claiming they are still costly now? How much is BCCL paying for newsprint now?

Mac Shankar

What about the new joinees who joined on new high packages and not entitled for increments. The cut will only affect the old employees. Is it a punishment for loyalty or long time retention in the company perceived as disqualification of the employee.

james

what about crores of rupees investing on lavish filmfare awards, miss india contest and holi parties. why not target those highly paid top shots who are getting in crores.

delphicoracle

just a q. what happened to that biofuel messiah who edited ET once, choking its pica ems with biofuel hallelujahs? now that sorry, believing, ignorant small investors have all lost all their investments in the sector after chorusing the hallelujahs, perhaps it's okay to tell us. Did the editor/prophet know about the crash enough in advance to pull out his moolah in time and run? How about all your other private treaties partners. I hope they were wrned in advance, too! Do tell. We sorry small investors have nothing left to lose, anyway, after biofuels and Satyam ( I've made a portfolio of all of ET's Satyam is sundaram stories published prior to the scam!). :).

spitandpolish

highly suspicious, isn't it, that one of the top bosses of the world's second largest selling economic paper is acknowledging that he and his "highly priced" talent was completely incapable of gauging what was round the economic bend? That speaks much about that talent and the bosses who created the system in which such talent was hired at a high price, triggering off a (now completely caved-in) competition in the media world. Perhaps mr dhariwal is better advised not to advertise his ignorance in this age of low ads. Consider that ET has been consistently telling us how good the economy is compared to the rest of the world (upto October 08, in fact, and then claimed things were bad but would improve in three months, thanks to terminal PC-chorus-ing!) and put the fact that the same group is siphoning back increments from its employees to improve its own financials. Maybe we should start taking ET's economic analysis with a huge bushel of salt from now on!!
Actually, the bare truth, that the company doesnt care a fig about who sinks so long it keeps its profit levels in the current situation is patently clear in the dhariwal interview. Keep it up, RD. You'll only brighten the halos adorning the bosses!!.

Boristhespider

Wonder if the company is factoring in the human cost of this move like dissatisfaction with the company, alienation from the brand, disgruntled employees, detachment from the brand. Is the company — the multi-billion dollar conglomerate, world’s largest selling newspaper, blah blah — even thinking of its employees before calling them a family? Is it a family where the decisions are taken mutually or by the benign patriarch who’s supposedly acting for the greater good of all? Were the employees ever factored in when the company was expanding and launching products and side-brands galore? Were the employees ever thought of when they were given hopes of a promised land that turned out to be a desert? Or is it a set up where the employees keep working, getting more revenues for a company that’s actually not bothered about them? Preserving the TOI brand and it’s sanctity and its dignity are very good ideas on paper but don’t such drastic measures erode the very same dignity that employees are implored to uphold? There are too many questions to this issue but the problem is that the management would rather evade than answering them with baseless arguments that are actually not grounded in real thought out policies and measures. Everyone’s facing the brunt of the tough times but what irks here is the way the employees — the so-called TOI family — are sidelined from actual decision-making.

Swati Rai

“In the last few years, talent costs have gone through the roof, sometimes to unreasonable levels. So there will be some correction. People don’t come or leave for salaries. People leave for greater professional challenges, people leave because of their bosses.”

Well, if bosses are like the one’s making these policies, little wonder then the employees are leaving. And then again, one should ask of Mr Dhariwal that who was it who escalated the talent acquisition rates? Was it not TOI that got into a mad race when rival products were getting launched to hold on to talent by escalating salaries to unheard of levels? When factoring in growth, are times of recession not thought of? Or does TOI believe in running like a horse with blinders on?

sk

An opinion as someone who has seen the functioning of company very closely over the past 20 years…
The work ethos in TOI and ET is becoming worse over the years.People who need to get recognition are getting sidelined and 20 somethings are being made to sit and dictate terms to employees, who have been loyal employees for over 30 years, in the name of new talent.
Most of this young so to say fire brand crowd is just a bunch of non serious guys looking for a stint to get some experience and move on to bigger things in life.Most of them pull out old stories from the database,refurbish them and end up with by lines!!!

Wage board is considered taboo and you are doomed if you are part of it.

I just hope the company realizes that regardless of the number of businesses you come up with, the key to successful sustainable innovation is – the people,the work force of an organization.

yeh kya ho raha hai bhai

more cuts are round the corner boss. even mint has asked its tv/video outfit to work 4 days a week. so much for their big talk of integration

Naraz Hathi

TUM APNE AAP KO COMPANY KO ARPIT KARO AUR REVIEW, INCENTIVE, RECESSION SE SARVADA MUQT HO JAO:-JAI HO

a friend of toi

the fact is print is the only segment thats of any value in bccl, everything else draws from it….but still print is being targeted. companies like 360 degress and mirchi are an absolute waste from the mother brands perspective, they have done nothing but eroded toi's brand value and positioning……its time they should be wiped out

fedup girl

I think BCCL is taking advantage of the fact that people cant complain in this environment and wont quit even if they are fedup. The money they are going to save by cutting salaries is going to be a drop in the ocean, compared to what they say they need.
Once other companies see this they are going to follow and things are going to go downhill from there.

hellboy

Hi, Dont know if same panic situation is there in other media companies like HT / Indian Express but its a bad to see a 150 year old established company is fighting for its survival. Its a fact that ppl who are loosing their jobs in TBSL or BCCL are not the actual or real persons, which should be sacked. Irony is ppl who are responsible for this situation of such a great company are still happy and are in safe jobs.

Shyam Somanadh

Better late than never. Like the commenter above said it is a bit funny that the downturn was not seen as a possibility. Equally odd is the statement that revenues falling like this has never been seen before. If all strategy is based on things seen till now, a lot of positive innovation just won't be possible. I just don't buy that logic. Gut feeling: the mess is much deeper than what it looks from the outside.

amit

the mail that mr Dhariwal has sent is the most confusing information that I have ever read. Better was expected from a media organisation. Why cant he just tell the individuals how much is their new packege (TTR) from now on. Jouranlists are not not CAs sitting with calculators.

Lord Haw Haw

If a CEO says he can't forsee the economic downturn or the rise in something so essential as Newsprint prices. Then someone in the corporate strategy/finance department is not doing his job.

Brajesh Kumar

Times Business Solutions Limited and Times Internet Limited are not going to be merged. TIL will acquire TBSL and all employees will be sacked.

Rajesh Garg

BCCL has been such a fantastic company, but it has shown immature actions at the time when it required to send some message to other media companies.

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