Santosh Iyer to take over as first Indian MD and CEO of Mercedes-Benz India from January 2023

Luxury car market leader elevates its VP (Sales & Marketing) to the top job; Iyer, the first Indian and also the youngest MD at Mercedes-Benz India, replaces Martin Schwenk who will take charge of Mercedes-Benz Thailand as its President and CEO.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 29 Aug 2022 Views icon30176 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Luxury car market leader Mercedes-Benz India has announced a top-management organisational change. The company has elevated Santosh Iyer, currently its Vice-President, Sales & Marketing, to the post of Managing Director and CEO.

Santosh Iyer replaces Martin Schwenk, who, after an extremely successful four-year stint in India, will take over as President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Thailand. Both these appointments will be effective from January 1, 2023. Iyer is the first Indian – and, at 46, also the youngest – to take charge at the helm of affairs of Mercedes-Benz India.

Under Martin Schwenk, Mercedes-Benz India has further strengthened its position as the luxury car market leader. Schwenk played a key role in making Mercedes-Benz India future-ready by driving electrification and digitisation initiatives. He contributed in formulating the brand’s growth strategy that includes introduction of key ICE products, pioneering the luxury EV journey with the EQC, transforming the retail network strategy with the MAR 2020 retail format, and successful implementation of the innovative ‘Retail of the Future’ business model in India.

The company statement issued today says, “Under his stewardship, Mercedes-Benz India successfully mitigated through the Covid-19 crisis. His vision, strategic collaborations, deep engagement with people, partners and customers, enormously contributed in building a future-ready, transparent and highly people-centric organisation.”    

Martin Schwenk: "I am thoroughly convinced Mercedes-Benz will achieve new heights with the passion, vision and dynamic leadership that Santosh drives in."

Martin Schwenk, MD and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India, commented: “I will personally remember India for the warmth and generosity of the people, our partners and customers. It is truly a dynamic market with immense potential and offers opportunities, making my stint enriching and rewarding. The strong brand loyalty and leadership of Mercedes-Benz in India is remarkable and inspires our customer centricity and customer commitment. As the company transitions into an exciting future with emerging mobility trends and unending possibilities, I am thoroughly convinced Mercedes-Benz will achieve new heights with the passion, vision and dynamic leadership that Santosh drives in. His contribution to the brand’s success story in India has been truly remarkable and his exemplary leadership will steer the company successfully into the future.”

Santosh Iyer, Vice-President, Sales & Marketing, Mercedes-Benz India, said, “I am extremely excited with the new responsibility and the opportunity to lead the most desirable luxury car brand in India. Mercedes-Benz is at the cusp of transitioning to an exciting, electrified future and it is a privilege for me to steer the brand, introduce emerging trends and continue to define new benchmarks for our customers. We have a fantastic winning team comprising our colleagues and franchise partners with proven records, and I am eager to continue this winning story.”  

Iyer’s leadership roles across diverse functions
Associated with Mercedes-Benz India since 2009, Iyer has been at leadership roles across diverse functions including sales, marketing, customer services, communications and CRM. In 2016, he took up the responsibility as VP, Customer Services & Retail Training business.

He played an instrumental role in the turnaround of the Customer Services business, successful implementation of new initiatives like MB Tyres, Parts Trading and setting up the Mercedes-Benz Academy. Under his leadership, Mercedes-Benz significantly increased its Customer Satisfaction scores to become No.1 in Aftersales Service satisfaction.

In July 2019, Iyer took over as the Vice-President, Sales & Marketing, successfully leading Mercedes-Benz’s digital transformation of the business and achieving the highest ever-online sales penetration. He demonstrated strong leadership in managing the business and steering it to a profitable growth during the pandemic. Subsequently, he also played an active role in conceptualising and implementing the ‘Retail of the Future’ business model.

During his tenure of heading Sales & Marketing, he laid a strong foundation for data analytics and pioneered online sales with its share exceeding 15% of total sales. A graduate in commerce from Mumbai University, Santosh is an MBA from the University of Indianapolis and holds a Masters in Corporate Governance and Compliance from the University of Lake Konstanz, Germany.

Mercedes-Benz India records 56% increase in H1 2022 sales
In the ongoing calendar year, Mercedes-Benz India continues to maintain its strong sales momentum and lead. It is clearly driving towards a record year in CY2022. At half-way stage, with 7,573 units sold in January-June 2022 (up 56% YoY), Mercedes-Benz India has already achieved 67% of its entire CY2021’s sales of 11,242 units.

What helped accelerate numbers was the highest-ever Q2 (April-June) sales, thanks to new product launches, sustained demand for existing products and services, and the dynamic ‘Retail of the Future’ strategy. What’s more, as of early July 2022, the carmaker had its highest-ever order bank of over 6,000 units.


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