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back to index backASIAtalk January,  2017


After expat exes fail, global automakers searching for Indians to lead their India operations

As many as five global carmakers have named or are in the process of naming Indians or Indian origin executives to lead their show in India, an indication of their increasing reliance on the more rooted local talent.

You need an Indian in the driving seat to succeed in India. Foreign carmakers seem to have reached this conclusion after expat chief executives fumbled and failed to make a dent in the country’s highly competitive and price-sensitive automobile market.

As many as five global carmakers have named or are in the process of naming Indians or Indian origin executives to lead their show in India, an indication of their increasing reliance on the more rooted local talent.

ETAuto has learnt that US auto major Ford Motor Co and German carmaker Volkswagen AG and are aggressively searching for Indians to lead and manage their India operations.

This comes days after Ingolstadt, Germany-based luxury carmaker Audi AG named non-resident Indian Rahil Ansari as head of its Indian arm effective February 1. Ansari succeeds Australian Joe King, who has gone back to Germany after a three-year stint.

He (Ansari) has previously served as director of network development for Audi India and thus brings appreciation for this market,” said Thierry Lespiaucq, MD at Volkswagen Group Sales India. I am confident that his diverse global experience combined with the understanding of the Indian market will help to consolidate the brand presence.”

Barring Volkswagen, all other brands within the Volkswagen Group—Porsche, Lamborghini, Skoda and Ducati—are led by Indians.

Earlier, French car maker Renault SA had named Sumit Sawhney, an MBA from IMS Indore and a General Motors veteran, as CEO and MD of its wholly-owned India subsidiary. Sawhney took over from Cairo, Egypt-born Marc Nassif, who headed Renault in India from 2008-14.

People tracking the movement of senior executives in the Indian automotive sector said companies have expressed a strong desire with headhunters to look for Indian talent to fill up at least a dozen CEO and CXO positions that will come up in the coming days as automakers plan to roll out new models in India.

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Source: ETAuto.com - GAI






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