Bye-bye business, says Ma

| Updated on September 12, 2019

Jack Ma   -  Bloomberg


Microsoft founder Bill Gates retired at 58. Now, Jack Ma, who created the $460-billion Alibaba empire, has retired at 55, hanging his boots on his birthday on September 10. But though Ma famously said he would rather die on a beach and not in office, it’s likely to be an active retirement for him much like Gates, who has devoted himself to philanthropy. Ma is going to support rural education. Interestingly, a study by Harvard Business Review looking at the post CEO careers of 50 top leaders of Fortune 500 companies finds that not one retired to an idle life! No golf courses or beaches as most became investors, joined non-profits, served on boards; many wrote books.

Are we now going to see a trend of entrepreneurs retiring in their 50s? Unlikely, as the average CEO retirement age is going up and not coming down. And remember, for every Gates and Ma, there is Warren Buffett at the other end of the spectrum, who is going strong as the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathway at age 89 and evades every question about his retirement or successor.

Suit against overwork!


While on Jack Ma, his 996 (9 am to 9 pm, six days a week) philosophy is finding no resonance with Indian techies in Hyderabad, three of whom have, along with a group of activists, reportedly filed a public interest litigation in the Telengana High Court against companies like Accenture and Cognizant, citing long work hours and bad leave policy. Terming it as “White Collar Slavery” the PIL makes a strong case against exploitation in the name of employment, pointing out that they put in 10-hour work days and also have long commutes to office. The Telengana High Court has directed the concerned firms to respond within four weeks.

Learning from the book


It’s not all stock talk at the Motilal Oswal Financial Services (MOFSL) office. Even as most learning and development (L&D) at corporate set-ups are taking the video and podcast route, here employees meet bi-monthly to discuss books and what they learnt from between the pages. According to Sudhir Dhar, HR head of MOFSL, any employee can reach out to the L&D team if they want to present a book. While books on investing do figure, the selections are fairly eclectic, ranging from Gurcharan Das’ The difficulty of being Good to Why People Fail to Adam Morgan’s The Pirate Inside.

Plastic peril


After the crackdown on traffic violations, it’s the heavy hand on the use of single-use plastics that has India in a tizzy. On October 2, the strict new measures are expected to kick in that will impact workplaces too. Several corporates have already announced measures to reduce usage. Even as India Inc mulls over this, an employer in the UK has done something drastic. According to reports, Intelligent Hand Dryers, a small firm in Sheffield, has threatened to sack any employee bringing in single-use plastic containers. Three warnings will be issued before the employee is out. Green boss Andrew Cameron may become the first ever employer in the world to introduce this sacking clause in employee contracts.

Published on September 12, 2019

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