Khattar to exit Maruti drivers seat

Written by Pankaj Doval | New Delhi, Oct 29 | Updated: Oct 30 2007, 06:02am hrs
Is it the end of Indian leadership at Maruti, one of the biggest successes of industrialised India, which made ownership of a car affordable for millions of Indians

Jagdish Khattar, the charismatic bureaucrat-turned-corporate honcho who led the company as managing director for over eight years, is on his way out after superannuating and will be replaced by chairman S Nakanishi.

Maruti Suzuki Indias board, which met on Monday, announced an organisational restructuring that finalised Khattars exit with effect from December 18 when he becomes 65, signalling a virtual strengthening of Suzukis control. Former MD & current director RC Bhargava will be non-executive chairman.

Even as the 77-year-old Suzuki chief Osamu Suzuki, who attended the board meeting, emphasised that Indians would play a pivotal role in higher management positions, the companys present organisational structure presents quite a different picture. Especially in the absence of Khattar, who joined Maruti in 1993 as director (marketing) and was elevated to the post of MD in 1999.

In the current set-up, Japanese occupy critical director-level positions. T Kobayashi is senior joint MD in charge of production and M Osada is director looking after R&D. S Oishi is director (marketing & sales) and H Nagao is joint MD in charge of administration and HR.

Suzuki, however, said more Indians could get board-level positions with the inclusion of ED-level officers.