Technology company Continental has appointed Latha Chembrakalam as the new head of its in-house R&D facility – Technical Center India (TCI). Latha will be taking over from Alexander Klotz, under whose leadership TCI grew into one of the largest engineering centers for Continental, globally.
Latha’s appointment will be instrumental in leading TCI to the next level of growth and innovation, including infrastructural expansion, headcount growth, and expansion of engineering competence for both global and local markets.
Juergen Heim, Senior Vice President and Head of Holistic Engineering & Technology Locations Management, said, “I am glad to welcome Latha as the new head of TCI and also extend my thanks to Alex, who oversaw many successful projects, expansions, and milestones. The race for the future mobility ecosystem has only just begun, and as the R&D arm for Continental, our Holistic Engineering & Technology unit and key centers like TCI have the responsibility for future technologies and solutions for the automotive sector. We continue to invest in R&D and our growth in India“.
Prashanth Doreswamy, Country Head, Continental India and MD, Continental Automotive Components (India), said, “TCI has become a vital engineering center in a short period for Continental globally. I am confident that Latha’s leadership, experience, and expertise will ensure TCI continues to grow in competence, innovation potential and capacity, touching new milestones. Additionally, Latha is our first woman head of TCI, and a welcome addition to our women executive leadership pool.”
Speaking on her appointment, Latha Chembrakalam said, “As a technology company, Continental has been consistently demonstrating innovation prowess and excellence in engineering and software in Automotive. With the current technological transformation in the industry, R&D plays a key role in ensuring the right value to the customer. I am excited to join the Continental family and lead TCI in its growth and expansion. ”
Latha Chembrakalam has nearly 3 decades of experience and has held many leadership roles in her illustrious career. Before Continental, Latha was the Vice- President at Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions , where she was responsible for the complete powertrain and electrification area. She has also worked with Siemens Information Systems, where incubated the automotive business in India after her stint in Siemens Automotives, Germany and later she was responsible for business development in South Africa, handling embedded systems, BFSI, Security solutions, and IT services. She is passionate about building powerful technology teams which creates value and differentiation for business.
Set up in 2009, TCI, with a strength of approximately 4,000 engineers, is one of the company’s major R&D locations organized under Holistic Engineering and Technologies organization. TCI supports both global and local R&D for the company's Automotive Technologies group sector. TCI is also the Global Software Center for Excellence and the HQ of the Global Software Academy. India has emerged as the Regional R&D Center, Asia Application Hub apart from tailoring solutions for the local market.
Continental, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, has been present in India for close to 50 years through technology partnerships (Continental Tires since 1974) and joint ventures for its various businesses. Today, the Tier 1 automotive supplier, tyre manufacturer, and industrial partner operates across India – with about 8,000 employees across 13 locations, including eight plants that cater to the Indian market and a Technical Center that supports Continental's global R&D activities.