Exclusive: Greaves Cotton builds new leadership team to build future-proof businesses

by Sumantra B Barooah 19 Dec 2017

Change is constant. And those who change with the times remain in the business. In its major transformation journey, Greaves Cotton is investing significantly in building a new leadership team. Starting with Nagesh Basavanhalli, MD and CEO, at the top, a team of highly experienced professionals have been hired by the company. The team appointed across all divisions, has the responsibility to draw strategies for the 158-year-old company to grow in the fast evolving automotive world, while also growing the company's established business.

The recent joinees are Kartik Gopal, who was till recently the strategy and business planning head at electric vehicle maker Mahindra Reva and Ravi Damodaran, who was the president for technology and business strategy for Tier 1 supplier Varroc Group. Ravi joins Greaves Cotton as its CTO and Kartik is the new COO (Electric Mobility Business), with the key responsibility of driving the company's electric mobility plans.


Other members of the new leadership team who joined earlier than Ravi Damodaran and Kartik Gopal are Shubhankar Chetterji, president - manufacturing & SCM  (former director-manufacturing & supply chain at Cummins' engines business) Debashis Mitra, president - engines business (former marketing and sales director, Mercedes-Benz India), Tarun Khanna, VP - Strategy, marketing and product planning (former product strategy and product planning head at Fiat Chrysler India), Mohanan Manikram, president - farm equipment business (former VP at M&M's Farm Equipment sector), Gagan Mathur (former sales and marketing VP at NRB Bearings) and Vijaya Kumar Kunnakavil, president - special projects (ex-TVS Motor, Bajaj Auto).

The move to build a new leadership team reflects Greaves Cotton's ambitions of tapping new opportunities in areas like electric mobility (and possibly shared too), growing the international business, venturing into new business segments while enhancing its technological capabilities. Greaves Cotton has also set up an incubation centre in Bangalore, which is working on propulsion technologies beyond electric.

Basavanhalli, who joined Greaves Cotton in September 2016, and has the responsibility of building the core team also has had a long innings in the automotive industry. He has had a long innings at Chrysler before a stint at Yokohama-owned Alliance Tire Group as its group president for emerging markets. Now Basavanhalli has the responsibility to lead the transformation journey at Greaves Cotton. "Right now, we are focusing on making a transition from being just a diesel and petrol engine supplier, to move into being a fuel agnostic technology supplier and service provider, also catering to the farm equipment and energy segments," Basavanhalli tells Autocar Professional in his first media interview as the MD and CEO of Greaves Cotton. What would help Greaves Cotton as it embarks on new plans to sustain growth in a fast-changing world is the deb-free account books and surplus cash of around Rs 450-500 crore. "We intend to leverage the strength of our financial position and make sure that we invest in the future, in terms of technology, people capability or infrastructure," says Basavanhalli. The hiring of senior industry professionals in quick succession shows that Greaves Cotton is quite serious about building its business to be futureproof.

*Read the comprehensive story on Greaves Cotton's transformation plans in Autocar Professional's 13th Anniversary Issue that will be out soon.


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