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People to Watch in International Business

3 minute read
Jyoti Thottam


The commissioner of women’s pro golf has worn many hats–salesman, marketing exec, cheerleader in chief–but until Carolyn Bivens, 52, took over in September, the LPGA’s CEO had never worn heels. Its first female commish says the sport is stronger than ever: “Previous commissioners had to focus on the question, Is there a viable market for a women’s golf league? That question has been forever answered.” With Sorenstam still dominant and Wie whacking her way up, TV ratings are soaring, galleries are record breaking and corporate sponsors are clamoring to get in. So what’s left for Bivens–a 14 handicap at her best–to shoot for? Plenty, especially on the global front. “On just about any Sunday morning, the leaderboard looks like the U.N. roll call,” she says. The LPGA Tour will probably add a stop in Thailand in 2006, and Bivens is talking about China next. Back home, she’ll expand an LPGA marketing campaign that spotlights players’ personalities. The tag line: These Girls Rock! –By Jeff Chu

>> Lars Nygaard CEO, SPANAIR

Change and creativity are Lars Nygaard’s two favorite words. Last month the Dane became the CEO of Spanair, Spain’s fast-expanding No. 2 airline. Top of his agenda: “Breaking down walls. I want to change the culture in our company,” says Nygaard, 39, who was formerly Spanair’s CFO. “Where I come from, things are less hierarchical.” Nygaard comes from Spanair’s parent, the Scandinavian carrier SAS, where he got his start. With his open-plan management and quick response to new ideas, he says, Spanair can thrive in a tough market: “We have a cost structure comparable to [low-cost pioneer] EasyJet,” steady profits and room to grow. Passenger numbers have jumped almost 20% this year. Spanair plans to expand to Algeria, Morocco and Switzerland in 2006. And it’s aiming to be No. 1 in the Spain-Scandinavia market within a year. “We’re the underdog,” but that’s a great thing to be, Nygaard says. –J.C.


She was a 32-year-old junior executive at Wipro Technologies, an Indian tech-services company, when, in 2001, the marketing director suddenly left. So she marched into the CEO’s office and asked for the job. “I was a nobody,” says Sangita Singh. Rebuffed, she returned 10 days later with a detailed pitch and got the job. Last month Wipro put her in charge of its Enterprise Application Services business, a key post as the company competes with IBM and Accenture for higher-value consulting work. With margins shrinking in IT outsourcing, this shift is critical. Singh must convince clients, 60% of them in North America, that Wipro is up to the task. “They’ve trusted us to develop and build [software], the not-so-sexy business, but they’ve turned to the Big Three for consulting,” she says. To move into that area, Singh will have to nurture Wipro’s talent. With turnover high and the industry still young, Indian IT companies are struggling to develop top-level managers. Singh, who has a team of 3,500, is hiring 500 more employees every quarter. She hopes to promote aggressive young people even if they’re a bit green on paper. It worked for her, she says. “I’ll just pass it on.” –By Jyoti Thottam

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