New Delhi: During 2020, many industry leaders learnt and adapted to new ways of working and transformed themselves into more agile and innovative personalities. Many leaders withstood the crisis valiantly and found new opportunities where none were apparent. ETAuto brings out a select list of top appointments and exits at the Indian automotive industry’s higher echelons in 2020.
Mayank Pareek retires from Tata Motors
Mayank Pareek, president, Passenger Vehicle Business Unit of Tata Motors, India’s third-largest carmaker, had superannuated in his position and will be retiring in February 2021. Shailesh Chandra, who was earlier heading the company’s electric vehicle division, replaced him in April 2020.
Return of Sanjay Bhan to Hero MotoCorp
Sanjay Bhan who earlier left India’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer to join the electric mobility startup Ola Electric as the chief business officer returned to Hero Motocorp as the head of Global Business (GB) to lead its growth into new markets. He is currently playing a pivotal role in the expansion and consolidation of Hero globally. Bhan leads the global business of Hero from October 1, 2020.
Kia’s Manohar Bhat quits
After the splendid and successful launch of Seltos and Sonnet, Manohar Bhat, the founding marketing and sales head of Kia Motor India, hung his boots. He drove these new SUV brands of Kia at astonishing speed in the market.
Bhat had been at the helm of Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai Motors, the most successful automobile manufacturers in India, and of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company as its president before joining Kia Motor India in 2017.
The sudden demise of Rudratej Singh of BMW
In early April, the BMW India president and chief executive officer, Rudratej Singh (46), succumbed to a massive cardiac arrest. Rudy, as he was fondly called, had joined BMW in August 2019, and was the first Indian president and CEO of BMW in India. Vikram Pawah replaced him.
Toyota veteran Shekar Viswanathan hangs up his boots
Shekar Viswanathan had hung up his boots at the Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) after being part of a long journey since the Japanese auto giant landed in Karnataka. He retired from his position in November 2020.
A prominent voice of the automotive and manufacturing sectors, he always argued hard for lower tax rates for the auto industry asserting that it could help create many new jobs, and enable India to catch up with the US and China in innovation and sales volumes. He also aired his opinion, regardless of how the government took it, on important issues of public policy.
Pavan Shetty bids adieu to Porsche India
Premium luxury carmaker Porsche India head Pavan Shetty resigned after a stint of four years and seven months in early July 2020. Shetty had played a key role in driving the Porsche brand in the Indian car market. He had been part of various product launches from Carrera S, Carrera Cabriolet to refreshed Cayenne Coupe.
Hero’s top strategist Rajat Bhargava resigns
Hero MotoCorp’s top guy Rajat Bhargava left the company in October 2020. Rajat joined Hero MotoCorp in 2013 from McKinsey where he was the senior partner.
Only four months before his resignation, Rajat assumed the newly-crafted role of chief of staff in the chairman and CEO Pawan Munjal’s office as head of Hero’s strategy, global business and emerging mobility business unit.
Pankaj Dubey quits Polaris India as MD
Pankaj Dubey, managing director and country head of Polaris Industries India, resigned from his role in April. He joined the company as its first employee in India in 2011. Polaris in India sells ATVs and luxury bikes of Indian Motorcycles.
HMSI rejigs top management
Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) appointed as the new president, CEO and managing director of HMSI after Minoru Kato returned to Japan on May 1, 2020.
Kato was spearheading Honda’s Indian two-wheeler operations for three years.
HMSI appointed V Sridhar as senior director, purchase, while Yadvinder Singh Guleria and Vinay Dhingra got elevated to the board of directors.
Organisational shake-up in Honda Cars
To further strengthen its network management and pre-owned business, Japanese carmaker Honda Cars India (HCIL) created a new team under Rajesh Goel, senior vice president and director, marketing and sales, with effect from April 1, 2020.
The organisational restructuring had been led by two senior executives – Rajiv Gupta, vice president, sales, and Anil Baveja, general manager, marketing and strategy.
Satinder Singh Bajwa moves to the auto division of M&M
Mahindra & Mahindra reshuffled senior executives in April 2020. In this, Satinder Singh Bajwa moved to the Auto Division (personal and pick-up segments) as head-sales and customer care. Bajwa was earlier holding the position of business head – commercial vehicle (CV) in the company.
Amit Sagar moved as head – construction equipment business and the leadership of Small Commercial Vehicle (SCV) business, in other organisational changes. Manish Arora who has been heading the construction equipment business, is now working at Gromax as business head.
Great Wall Motors appoints Hardeep Singh Brar as director of marketing and sales
Before making the grand debut in the Auto Expo 2020, Great Wall Motors (GWM) had appointed Hardeep Singh Brar as director of marketing and sales. Prior to this, he had worked as the director of sales and network in Nissan Motor India for two years.
Deepak Shetty appointed as deputy CEO and MD of JCB India
The JCB Group appointed Deepak Shetty as deputy CEO and managing director of JCB India Limited. Shetty will take over in 2021 as MD and CEO from Subir Kumar Chowdhury who had announced his retirement after having been with JCB India for close to 15 years. Shetty had been with JCB for over ten years in various leadership roles.
He makes this transition after having been the executive vice president — sales, marketing, product support and business development for India and the South Asia region.
Mahindra gets new president for group strategy
Before joining Mahindra, Sinha was a senior partner and director with Bain & Company. He spent over 18 years at Bain, managing large-scale, multi-country strategy, organisation, and performance improvement projects.
Daimler appoints Philipp Schiemer as CEO of Mercedes-AMG
German automobile giant Daimler appointed Philipp Schiemer as CEO of AMG, Mercedes-Benz’s high-performance subsidiary. Besides, the automaker appointed Jochen Hermann as chief technical officer of AMG. He returned to AMG from his position as head of e-drive development at Daimler AG.
Schiemer and Hermann assumed their new positions on August 1 2020.
Aston Martin CEO steps down as 007 carmaker hits skids
Aston Martin chief executive Andy Palmer left James Bond’s favourite carmaker as it seeks to recover from crashing demand and ballooning losses.
Palmer, who oversaw the company’s London stock market float two years ago, left after six years at the wheel.
He is replaced by Tobias Moers, head of Mercedes-AMG, the German car giant Daimler’s performance division.
Reji Mathai takes over as ARAI director
Reji Mathai took over as director of the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) from Neelkanth V Marathe, officiating director, on December 2, 2020.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approved the appointment of Reji as Director of ARAI on September 3, 2020.
Prior to this, he was working with Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) as chief general manager. He was associated with IOCL for over 28 years. Reji had contributed immensely in the field of engine and vehicle testing, emission studies, alternative fuels, ambient air quality, BS-VI and beyond.
Goodyear India appoints Sandeep Mahajan as MD
Goodyear India Limited reshuffled its top management. Rajeev Anand who was earlier appointed as managing director of the company has assumed the role of executive chairman with effect from June 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020.
Sandeep Mahajan succeeded Anand as managing director of the company on June 1, 2020, for five years or up to the date of superannuation or retirement.