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UCB AND GENPACT RECEIVE AECUS INNOVATION AWARD FOR SUCCESS IN GLOBAL BUSINESS SERVICES

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Judges highlight value-added partnership and finance transformation as leading examples of innovation in operational redesign

UCB, a multinational biopharmaceutical company, and Genpact (NYSE: G), a global leader in designing, transforming, and running intelligent business operations, have received the Aecus Innovation Award in recognition of their close collaboration in driving transformation that achieved far-reaching operational efficiencies in UCB’s global business services (GBS) finance organization.

The Aecus Innovation Awards acknowledge service providers and clients that work together effectively to embrace the innovative promise of outsourcing. Aecus highlights the best examples of companies that deliver value by applying new techniques and technologies.

The UCB-Genpact relationship began in 2009 with finance and accounting process management and in 2013, UCB adopted a global business services model for its finance function, including tax, source to pay, record to report, and order to cash processes across numerous countries.

UCB had a target to reduce its GBS expenses in 2014 and aimed to streamline operations to make them more agile and effective, as well as better able to provide management insight and secure compliance.

Genpact and UCB designed and implemented a transformation roadmap to drive efficiencies, enhance compliance, and improve customer satisfaction. By applying Genpact’s experience in process, analytics and technology to UCB’s global business services, the UCB-Genpact team redesigned numerous operations, which resulted in increased employee productivity and annual savings, among other benefits.

UCB and Genpact received the award as a result of their close partnership, one-team spirit, and successful implementation of the roadmap. In less than 12 months, they designed and implemented more than 20 projects across 25 countries.

The transformative approach combined Lean Six Sigma initiatives, targeted and effective implementation of automation, and process redesign. For example, the creation of an assembly line model in the record to report process enabled:

  • One common vision and global standards for policies and procedures;
  • Enhanced record to record process controls for better compliance;
  • Standardized, high-quality services for customers;
  • Process efficiencies by eliminating non-value-adding steps; and
  • Robust governance to improve overall effectiveness.

Other initiatives include automating vendor invoices and designing and executing a supplier relationship management system for the source to pay process. UCB and Genpact also implemented projects to support UCB’s business by optimizing working capital, enhance customer satisfaction by simplifying finance processes, and improve compliance by establishing an internal controls framework. The team drove finance process transformation by addressing the end-to- end cycle of execution, visibility of related impact, and steering of performance, making those operations better able to sense, act and learn from their actions—in short, more intelligent.

“While case studies like UCB-Genpact are still relatively rare, increasingly these sorts of value-creating partnerships show the way forward. In a competitive marketplace, buyers of outsourcing are starting to aim for more,” says Paul Morrison, partner and Head of Innovation Services at Aecus. “We were struck by the range of positive outcomes from this innovation—the project boosted so many areas, with improvements throughout UCB.”

“UCB welcomes the recognition of its investment in global business services and we’re delighted to receive the Aecus Innovation Award,” says Constanze Nuesperling, vice president, Partnerships and Performance Management at UCB. “Working with Genpact gives us access to the latest best practices, benchmarking data, and innovative solutions that enabled us to meet our cost-reduction target in 2014. UCB and Genpact worked as a true team to deliver these benefits.”

“This award reflects the strength of the collaboration between UCB and Genpact. It underscores Genpact’s ability to deliver intelligent operations that help UCB continuously adapt to the business environment,” says Peter Sheppard, vice president, Life Sciences, Europe at Genpact. “We look forward to building on this success and our partnership to deliver even greater results.”

The Genpact-UCB case study can be accessed at http://www.genpact.com/docs/default-source/pdf/enabling-business-transformation-at-ucb-global-business-services.pdf.

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs 1

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin hit a fresh high in Asian trading on Saturday, extending a two-month rally that saw its market capitalisation cross $1 trillion a day earlier.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency rose to an record $56,620, taking its weekly gain to 18%. It has surged more than 92% this year.

Bitcoin’s gains have been fuelled by evidence it is gaining acceptance among mainstream investors and companies, such as Tesla Inc, Mastercard Inc and BNY Mellon.

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and daily volume, hit a record $2,040.62, for a weekly gain of about 12%.

Ether is the digital currency or token that facilitates transactions on the ethereum blockchain. In the crypto world, the terms ether and ethereum have become interchangeable.

Ether futures contracts launched on derivatives exchange CME earlier this month.

(Reporting by Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by William Mallard)

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers 2

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank is working to standardize COVID-19 vaccine contracts that countries are signing with drug makers, and is pushing manufacturers to be more open about where doses are headed, as it races to get more vaccines to poor countries, the bank’s president said on Friday.

World Bank President David Malpass told Reuters he expected the bank’s board to have approved $1.6 billion in vaccine funding for 12 countries, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Ethiopia, by the end of March, with 30 more to follow shortly thereafter.

The bank is working with local governments to identify and fill gaps in distribution capacity, after they purchase vaccines under a $12 billion World Bank program, and also to standardize the contracts they are signing with manufacturers, he said.

The bank’s International Finance Corp, its private financing arm, has $4 billion to invest in expanding existing production plants or building new ones, including in developed countries, but needs more data on where current production is headed, he said.

“We are eager to be investing in new capacity, but it’s hard to do because you don’t know how much of the existing capacity is already committed to the various off-takers,” Malpass said in an interview with Reuters. New or expanded plants could be used to produce other types of vaccinations in the future, he said.

The bank’s funds could be used to expand plants in advanced economies, if the production was earmarked for developing nations, he said.

Malpass welcomed Friday’s pledge by the Group of Seven rich countries to intensify cooperation on the pandemic, saying it could help jump-start deliveries of vaccines to poorer countries, which are lagging far behind rich countries in getting shots in arms.

Data compiled by Our World In Data, a scientific online publication, showed Israel was leading the world in COVID-19 vaccinations, with nearly 82 of 100 people vaccinated, while India and Bangladesh reported less than one person per 100, Many African countries have not started at all.

Malpass said he was heartened by news about new vaccines coming down the road, and about Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE seeking permission to store their vaccine at higher temperatures, which would ease another obstacle to deliveries in lower-income countries.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Heather Timmons and Leslie Adler)

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion

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By Paresh Dave

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will evaluate the performance of its vice presidents and above on team diversity and inclusion starting this year, the company said on Friday in one of several responses to concerns about its treatment of a Black scientist.

Timnit Gebru, co-leader of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence research team, said in December that Google abruptly fired her after she criticized its diversity efforts and threatened to resign.

Alphabet and Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai ordered a review of the situation. While Google declined to share specific findings, the company announced on Friday it will engage human resources specialists during sensitive employee departures.

Pichai in June said that by 2025, Google aims to have 30% more of its leaders come from underrepresented groups, with a focus on Black, Latinx and Native American leaders in the United States and female technical leaders globally. About 96% of Google’s U.S. leaders at the time were white or Asian, and 73% globally were men.

As a result of the investigation, the company also expanded a commitment announced in June to devote more resources to retaining and promoting existing employees, including by expanding a team addressing disputes among workers and their managers.

The diversity component of executive performance reviews was not previously announced, and the company did not immediately share details about what would be measured and how pay would be affected.

Alphabet for years had rejected proposals from shareholders and employees to set diversity goals and tie executive pay to them.

Irene Knapp, a former Google employee who advocated for one such proposal at a 2018 shareholder meeting, said on Friday, “I am pleased that they met our demand from 2018, which was a bare minimum that should have been easy to do immediately.”

Evaluating managers on diversity goals is becoming more commonplace. McDonald’s Corp on Thursday tied executive bonuses to diversity.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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