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INFORMATICA NAMES CHAIRMAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER AND CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

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INFORMATICA NAMES CHAIRMAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER AND CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Anil Chakravarthy promoted to CEO and former adobe CEO Bruce Chizen appointed as chairman of Informatica’s board of directors

Informatica, the world’s number one independent software provider focused on delivering transformative innovation for the future of all things data, today announced that its board of directors has appointed Anil Chakravarthy as chief executive officer for Informatica. Additionally, Bruce Chizen will assume the role of executive chairman. Informatica also named two new senior executives to the leadership team – Jim Davis as executive vice president and chief marketing officer and Doug Barnett as executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Since going private in August 2015, Chakravarthy has served as acting CEO. During the past two quarters, Chakravarthy has led Informatica effectively and defined the strategy for the next phase of the company’s growth. Additionally, under his leadership, Informatica has delivered several significant product releases including the most important platform release in the company’s history – Informatica v10 and Informatica Big Data Management. Chakravarthy joined Informatica in September 2013 as executive vice president and chief product officer. Prior to Informatica, Chakravarthy held leadership roles at Symantec Corporation for nearly a decade. Before Symantec, Chakravarthy led product management at VeriSign. He started his career at McKinsey & Company.

Bruce Chizen has assumed the role of executive chairman for Informatica. Since August, Chizen has been a member of the board and a special advisor to Informatica. Chizen will work closely with the leadership team on strategic priorities and serve as an ambassador for the company.

Informatica has added two seasoned leaders to the executive team with the appointments of Jim Davis as chief marketing officer (CMO) and Doug Barnett as chief financial officer (CFO). Davis and Barnett bring decades of expertise and will play pivotal roles in leading the marketing and finance teams.

Most recently, Davis was the executive vice president and chief marketing officer of SAS, the leading provider of analytics solutions, where he was responsible for the global strategic direction and marketing vision for SAS products, solutions and services. Davis was responsible for the SAS brand and also oversaw a number of operational business units at SAS. He helped lead the transformation of SAS from a tools vendor to the software solutions provider it is today. As an industry thought leader and spokesperson for SAS, Davis played a key role in showing customers the business value in their data. He co-authored the book Information Revolution: Using the Information Evolution Model to Grow Your Business, which outlines how data can be optimally used as a corporate asset and help organisations compete on a global scale. Davis joined SAS in 1994 and has held a number of functional and leadership roles over the last 21 years at SAS.

Prior to Informatica, Barnett was the executive vice president  and chief financial officer at TriZetto Corporation, where he was responsible for all finance related functions, including accounting, internal audit, banking, investor relations, cash management, internal/external reporting, tax and treasury as well as HR, facilities and IT. Prior to TriZetto, Barnett was a managing director and chief financial officer of AlixPartners. Before joining AlixPartners, Barnett was senior vice president of finance for UGS PLM Software (acquired by Siemens). Barnett began his career at PriceWaterhouse and over his 30-year career, has also served in multiple finance roles.

Supporting quotes

“Anil has distinguished himself as a visionary leader for Informatica,” said Bruce Chizen, chairman, Informatica. “Under his leadership, Informatica has successfully transitioned to a private company and is very well-positioned for 2016 and beyond. Anil is the ideal CEO to lead Informatica during this next stage of transformation and growth, and we have great confidence that our success will accelerate under his leadership.”

“As such seasoned leaders in their respective fields, Jim Davis and Doug Barnett will add tremendous value to our leadership team,” added Anil Chakravarthy, chief executive officer, Informatica. “Both Jim and Doug are joining Informatica at the ideal time and each brings a strong track record of performance and a wealth of practical experience. Their background and expertise will be instrumental as we enter the next phase of growth for the company and help our customers realise business value from all things data.”

“Informatica will benefit significantly from Bruce’s deep expertise in the software industry, his proven leadership experience and track record, and his relationships in Silicon Valley,” highlighted Erik Levy, Informatica Board member and senior principal, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

“Informatica is ideally positioned to benefit from technology trends in cloud, big data, master data management and data security. The Informatica leadership team is focused on building the company into a multi-billion dollar category leader in data management and we are looking forward to supporting them along this journey,” commented Brian Ruder, Informatica Board member and partner, Permira Advisers.

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Concern over rich-poor divide seen on the increase during pandemic

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Concern over rich-poor divide seen on the increase during pandemic 1

By Matthew Lavietes

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – People have become more concerned about the gap between rich and poor during the coronavirus pandemic, especially the young, the authors of a new global study said on Tuesday, urging governments to take steps to redress the balance.

More than 8,700 people in 24 nations were surveyed at the start and end of 2020 by the Glocalities market research agency, with the findings showing an increase in the share of respondents who thought income differences should be reduced.

As the coronavirus pummeled the global economy last year, the survey also found a 10-point rise in the percentage who said decent work and economic growth were the most important means of improving quality of life.

“It has slapped people in the face and made them realize that things are not going well,” Ronald Inglehart, one of the lead authors of the study, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, referring to the pandemic.

“We need government intervention on a larger scale. We don’t want a state-run economy, but some of the resources need to be reallocated to balance off this powerful trend.”

Policies that will create “good-paying jobs” in the fields of child care, environmental protection and infrastructure would help address mounting frustration over income inequality Inglehart added.

Young people are particularly concerned about income disparities, the study found.

A third of respondents aged between 18 and 34 said they were more concerned about income inequality than unemployment or economic growth at the end of 2020, up from 29% at the start of the year – before the coronavirus had spread around the world.

“Feelings of being upset, being afraid, feeling let down, feeling like ‘I have no prospective anymore’ are on the rise,” said Martijn Lampert, who also co-authored the study.

“So this requires very wise and just government interventions to channel this unrest in a positive way.”

Inglehart said he sees evidence of such sentiments among the students he teaches at the University of Michigan.

“The job market is dismal … My best students, the stars, they’re finding jobs at a lower level than they’re anticipating. And the ones who aren’t stars are getting nothing,” he said.

The global economy is seen shrinking 3.5% last year, according to the latest estimates by the International Monetary Fund, and numerous studies have shown how the global health crisis has exacerbated economic inequalities.

As a result of the pandemic, the number of people living in poverty has doubled to more than 500 million, according to a report issued last month by the charity Oxfam.

Meanwhile, the collective wealth of the world’s billionaires rose $3.9 trillion between March and December 2020 to reach $11.95 trillion, the report said.

(Reporting by Matthew Lavietes; Editing by Helen Popper; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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Boon or bane? Malaysian island reclamation plan divides residents

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Boon or bane? Malaysian island reclamation plan divides residents 2

By Rina Chandran

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The island of Penang on the northwest coast of Malaysia is known for its sandy beaches, the colourful wall murals of its capital Georgetown, and its fiery street food.

In time, it will also be known for three man-made islands that state authorities say are needed to provide housing and economic opportunities for an expanding population, while also generating funds for a modern transport network.

But the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project, dubbed BiodiverCity, has pitted the government and businesses against fishermen and environmentalists who say it will wreck the lives of residents, and damage the coast.

“The area is rich in prawns and fish. If you build islands, what we will see is permanent environmental degradation,” said Mahadi Md Rodzi, chairman of the Penang Fishermen’s Association that represents about 6,000 fisherman.

“Fishermen have been told to upskill or get another job, but many of us are born fishermen and depend on the sea to live. The proposed compensation from the state is too insufficient for something that will affect our livelihoods forever,” he said.

Many fishermen have rejected the 20,000-ringitt ($4,950) compensation offered, as well as the Environmental Impact Assessment report, which conservationists say does not reflect the potential damage or propose adequate mitigation measures.

Authorities say BiodiverCity, which is a part of the Penang 2030 vision of improving liveability and sustainability, will be a “socially and economically inclusive development” with an emphasis on green spaces, clean energy and car-free transport.

The 4,500-acre (1,821 hectares) project comprising three lilypad-shaped islands will house about 15,000 people each, and use natural and recycled materials such as bamboo and timber for construction of homes and offices, according to the plan.

But the scale of the dredging and reclamation work over more than a decade will cause “massive and long-term environmental destruction”, said Evelyn Teh, an environmental researcher in Penang.

“Fifteen years of land reclamation is a long onslaught to any marine ecology and the fishery industry that depends on it. The reclaimed islands will bury existing fishing areas while deteriorating the surrounding marine water quality,” she said.

“Coastal communities who rely on the marine and coastal area for their livelihood will experience an irreversible negative impact,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

‘COLOSSAL MISAPPROPRIATION’

From Denmark to Singapore, planners have reclaimed land from the sea for decades for offices, apartments and tourism.

Cities and island states that are running out of space are reclaiming land, expanding vertically or going underground.

A United Nations-backed partnership is studying the prospect of floating cities that can help coastal cities at risk of flooding from worsening climate-change impacts.

In Asia, land reclamation has become a contentious issue, with Cambodia and Malaysia banning sand exports, while Jakarta has suspended its reclamation project, and a plan to build an artificial island in Hong Kong has drawn fierce criticism.

Malaysia has two other major reclamation projects underway: Melaka Gateway, a deep-sea-port and cruise terminal that is part of China’s massive Belt and Road infrastructure plan, and Forest City in Johor near Singapore, aimed at foreign investors.

Large-scale reclamation allows more flexibility in city planning, but also lets governments engage “more ambitiously and aggressively with the business of land-banking,” said Keng-Khoon Ng, a lecturer at UCSI University Kuala Lumpur.

“These island-making projects are designed to boost state coffers. They represent a colossal misappropriation of resources at a time of intensifying housing unaffordability and social injustice,” he said.

But the PSR is needed as Penang has “run out of land”, resulting in ad-hoc developments, fewer economic opportunities, and a shortage of affordable housing, said Eddie Chan, executive director of SRS Consortium, the project developer.

A quarter of residential units will be earmarked for affordable housing in the average price range of 350,000 ringgit, and a fishermen’s taskforce set up by the state government is addressing any social impacts, he said.

“With proper design and construction methods applied to dredging and reclamation, and pollution prevention and mitigation measures to minimise environmental impact, we are confident that reclamation can be done sustainably,” Chan said.

RADICAL RETHINK

The PSR project, designed by Copenhagen-based Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), is scheduled to break ground in March after approvals.

Reclamation has hugely benefited Penang, with parts of the Bayan Lepas industrial zone, as well as heritage clan jetties built on reclaimed land, said Joshua Woo, a former local councillor.

“There are fancy land reclamation projects for the wealthy, but there are also land reclamation projects for a city’s survival. PSR belongs to the latter group,” he said.

“The project will open up new economic opportunities and social spaces for us,” he added.

In fact, PSR is a “feasible solution” to address urgent environmental issues such as climate change and sea-level rises, said Farizan Darus, chief executive of government agency Penang Infrastructure Corporation that is overseeing the project.

“More than half of Penang island is hilly terrain, therefore the next best approach is land reclamation,” he said.

“Without strategic land, Penang’s growth will be stunted. Now is the best time to implement PSR to provide a much-needed economic boost to Penang, and prepare the state for the post-pandemic economy,” he added.

Meanwhile, an online petition by a local heritage advocate against the project, has garnered more than 115,000 signatures, while a group of residents have held several protests under the Penang Tolak Tambak (Penang Rejects Reclamation) banner.

In building PSR and using it to fund the 46-billion ringgit ($11.4 billion) transport network, the state is taking on a huge financial risk during an economic slowdown, and putting commercial interests above the environment and people, said Teh.

Particularly now, when the coronavirus pandemic has revealed deep-rooted inequalities in urbanisation, authorities should instead favour a “radical rethink on building back better”, she said, including low-carbon public transport networks.

“The government risks putting too much focus on a massively expensive and environmentally destructive project that will only benefit a small group of people at the expense of the wider population during an unprecedented economic crisis,” Teh said.

“Penang may be biting off more than it can chew.”

($1 = 4.03691 Malaysian ringgit)

(Reporting by Rina Chandran in Bangkok, with additional reporting by Beh Lih Yi in Kuala Lumpur; Editing by Astrid Zweynert. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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HSBC curbs profit and payout ambitions, bets on Asia wealth

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HSBC curbs profit and payout ambitions, bets on Asia wealth 3

By Alun John and Lawrence White

HONG KONG/LONDON (Reuters) – HSBC Holdings PLC on Tuesday abandoned its long-term profitability target, and unveiled a revised strategy focused mainly on wealth management in Asia after the COVID-19 shock saw its annual profits drop sharply.

Citing the low interest rate environment and tough market conditions, HSBC ditched its goal of achieving a return on tangible equity of 10 to 12%, and said instead it will aim for 10% over the medium term.

The moves by Europe’s biggest bank underlined the tough outlook for the banking sector as low interest rates worldwide take their toll, even as a global markets rally boosted the prospects for the wealth management business.

The margin pressure and mounting losses in Europe have forced HSBC to redouble its focus on Asia which provided a dominant share of the bank’s profits in 2020.

“The big structural shift that’s gone on since we set out the plan last February has really been the shift in interest rates down toward zero in most markets that we do business in,” Ewen Stevenson, HSBC’s group chief financial officer, told Reuters.

“If interest rates were 100 basis points higher today across the board it would improve our returns by 3 percentage points.”

The bank said it would pay a dividend of $0.15 a share in cash, the first payout announced since October 2019, after the Bank of England blocked all big lenders from paying dividends or buying back shares in 2020 to conserve capital.

However, it said it would stop the previous practice of paying a quarterly dividend, and target a payout ratio of between 40% and 55% of reported earnings per ordinary share from 2022 onwards, well below the level in recent years.

HSBC also said it will make hefty cuts to some of its back office functions such as technology and operations, without specifying the number of jobs affected. The lender cut 11,000 jobs in 2020 and had signalled it would make further reductions.

The announcement came as HSBC reported profit before tax of $8.78 billion for 2020, down 34% from a year earlier but just above the $8.33 billion average of analysts’ estimates compiled by the bank.

HSBC’s Hong Kong shares were up 0.55% by 0750 GMT, lagging the benchmark Hang Seng index as investors considered the bank’s dividend cut and modest strategic ambitions.

Investors were resigned to HSBC’s more modest ambitions and growth target.

“It’s hard to have high ambitions in this climate, or at least dangerous to declare them if they exist,” said Hugh Young, managing director at Aberdeen Standard, the bank’s 9th-largest shareholder.

ASIA FOCUS, SHRINKING ELSEWHERE

HSBC said that its growth in Asia for the next five years will be driven by around $6 billion of additional investment in its wealth management and international wholesale business.

“Everyone realises how big an economic opportunity China and India are but HSBC is starting to realise no-one has the opportunity to serve that wealth creation like they do,” said Dan Lane, a senior analyst at UK digital broker Freetrade.

“The prospect doesn’t come cheap but it looks like the company is finally ready to pump cash into getting even more East Asian customers on board.”

Profit from the bank’s wealth management and personal banking division in Asia was $5 billion in 2020, but its cash cow Hong Kong accounted for almost all of this, despite its controversial decision to assist Hong Kong police with investigations into pro-democracy activists.

Elsewhere in the world, HSBC said it is in talks with a potential buyer for its troubled France retail banking unit, which it has been trying to dispose for over a year, but no deal has been confirmed.

It said it expected to make a loss on the sale given the business’ underlying performance.

The bank also said it is “exploring organic and inorganic options” for its U.S. retail banking franchise, suggesting it is trying to sell the unit where it has already closed 80 branches in the last year.

Reuters, and others, have reported the bank is trying withdraw from U.S. retail banking.

HSBC’s Mexico operations made a loss of $187 million in 2020, as many of its branches remained closed due to the pandemic, but chief executive Noel Quinn told Reuters he is confident about the prospects for a business the bank has in the past considered selling.

“We’re confident that (HSBC’s Mexico business) will be successful again post-COVID, and it is a business at scale,” Quinn said.

(Reporting by Alun John and Lawrence White; editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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