Tata Consultancy Services has appointed a new leader to oversee the recruitment of temporary workers amidst an internal investigation into a scandal involving bribes-for-jobs. The company has dismissed at least 15 executives and blacklisted eight staffing firms.
Sivakumar Viswanathan, a seasoned professional with around 30 years of experience, has been chosen head, Resource Management Group (RMG), which is responsible for hiring contract workers and assigning internal resources to projects.
TCS has terminated 15 individuals from its RMG divisions in the United States and Canada, and from Bengaluru and Hyderabad in India. The company aims to remove those who accepted commissions from staffing firms, compromising the integrity of the recruitment process. The names of the blacklisted staffing firms have not been disclosed.
In addition, TCS is conducting a comprehensive audit of all the staffing firms it engages with. They have requested their recruitment arm, responsible for hiring temporary workers, to provide details of all contract workers. This includes information about which division and vendor sourced them, as well as the associated costs. TCS aims to scrutinise the hiring process and vendor relationships over the past 2-3 years.
The recruitment scandal has marked a deep dent in the reputation of TCS, the second-most valuable firm in India with a market value of ?11.7 trillion.
Sivakumar Viswanathan, based in Chennai, a trusted associate of CEO K. Krithivasan, will lead the efforts to address these issues. The former global head of the recruitment arm, E.S. Chakravarthy, has been placed on leave after a whistleblower exposed unethical practices in the hiring of contract workers. The whistleblower alleged that several executives had been receiving commissions from staffing firms for many years.
The ongoing internal investigation has not yet revealed specific findings. However, sources familiar with the matter claim that all the dismissed executives were allegedly involved in accepting bribes from staffing firms.
The head of RMG at TCS holds a crucial role, overseeing the deployment of 1,400 engineers to projects on a daily basis, averaging one placement per minute.
These irregularities erupted in the latter half of 2020 when TCS, like other Indian IT services firms, experienced a surge in demand for their services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses worldwide sought to enhance their digital capabilities as people were forced to stay at home. Despite significant hiring, IT services companies, including TCS, faced a shortage of talent. Temporary workers provided by staffing firms became a solution. However, this period highlighted flaws in the hiring processes.