Wipro appoints new Chair for AI at the Swinburne University of Technology

07 February 2019 Consultancy.in

Indian IT consulting giant Wipro has continued its strategy of consolidating its presence in the Australian market, establishing a strong academic link in the country through the appointment of Ryszard Kowalczyk as its Chair for Artificial Intelligence at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne.

Kowalczyk holds a Master of Engineering from the University of Zielona Gora and a PhD in Computer Science from the Silesian University of Technology. He began his professional career more than two decades ago as a Senior Research Scientist for Knowledge-based systems at Rio Tinto.

He subsequently spent over six years as a Principal Research Scientist and the Head of Applied Artificial Intelligence Research at CSIRO. Since 2003, Kowalczyk has been engaged at the Swinburne University of Technology, where he has occupied a number of varying roles in the domain of Artificial Intelligence.

It is this expertise in AI that has now earned him the title of Wipro Chair of AI at the university. The appointment is representative of a larger partnership between the two organisations, which includes the establishment of a joint innovation centre in the domain of AI.

Wipro appoints new Chair for AI at the Swinburne University of Technology

The new centre will be used as a space for experimentation and research in various AI and machine learning applications, specifically with respect to improvements in the fields of healthcare and smart cities. The solutions will then be marketed across Australia and the broader region of Asia. 

Commenting on the appointment, Senior Vice President and Business Head of Wipro for Asia Pacific and Japan Manoj Nagpaul said, “Through the combined power of Wipro’s global innovation ecosystem and Swinburne University’s research capabilities, we will drive world-class research in AI that will have an impact on a global scale. We are also very excited to be able to take many of the jointly developed innovations to our customers.”

Kowalczyk himself added, “With this powerful industry-academia partnership, we are on course to transform AI and ML as we know it. AI and ML are today one of the most coveted skills and this innovation centre makes it possible to fast track AI and ML courses for industry professionals and provide the industry with access to a large pool of PhD and undergraduate students at the University.”

For Wipro, this represents a promising new step for two of its significant strategic objectives. Not only is the firm looking to expand its capabilities in AI and other industry 4.0 domains to regain business, but it has also been focusing on Australia as a growing market for these services in recent times. 

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PwC appoints Padmaja Alaganandan as new Chief People Officer in India

19 April 2019 Consultancy.in

Global professional services firm PwC has appointed a new Chief People Officer (CPO) for its India practice. The firm’s Technology Lead Padmaja Alaganandan, who has been with PwC for a continuous spell of eight years since 2011, will take over from incumbent CPO Jagjit Singh.

Having graduated from the Indian Institute of Management, Alaganandan began her professional career at PwC in 2000. She joined Strategy&’s Change Consulting Practice, where she worked for three years and eventually rose to the rank of Principal Consultant before moving to Mercer in 2005.

At Mercer, she began as a Principal Consultant for Human Capital and made her way up to the position of Business Leader for Human Capital at Mercer Consulting. She rejoined PwC in 2011, and has been a Partner at the firm in addition to leading the firm’s Technology and Advisory segments.

PwC appoints Padmaja Alaganandan as new Chief People Officer in India

Her role as CPO at PwC is informed by her previous experience as a Leader of PwC’s People and Organisation Consulting practice. She takes the helm of PwC’s people management activities at a time when talent management and development is increasingly crucial in firms across India.

As firms across the country begin to digitalise, there is not only the demand to foster an environment and spirit of innovation amongst the country’s business environment, but also to equip professionals with the skills required to work in collaboration with machines and technology.

Major professional services firms such as PwC are under particular pressure to live up to these changes, given their role in facilitating the digital transformation of their clients’ organisation, which extends to the development of skills amongst their workforce.

Alaganandan has expressed the importance of fostering an enabling environment within PwC as well, specifying that “:Building a wellbalanced and inclusive workforce is key to our business. She takes over the role of CPO from Jagjit Singh, who has held the position for nearly five years now.