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Home > Business > Business Headline > Report

Rajiv Bajaj to take over as Bajaj Auto MD next year

Santanu Choudhury in New Delhi | May 03, 2004 07:51 IST

Rahul Bajaj is likely to step down as managing director of Bajaj Auto, the country's second largest two-wheeler maker, in 2005. He would, however, continue to remain chairman of the company, family sources said.

His elder son, Rajiv Bajaj, who is now joint managing director of Bajaj Auto, is tipped to take over as managing director. The sources, however, added that a proposal was yet to be prepared and placed before the board.

It is learnt that the senior Bajaj, 66, has gradually distanced himself from the daily operations of the company. In the last few years, he has delegated significant work to his cousin, Madhur Bajaj, Bajaj Auto vice-chairman, Rajiv, and younger son Sanjiv, who has recently been made executive director (finance).

Rahul Bajaj was not available for comment.

Rajiv Bajaj is largely perceived as the man who turned around Bajaj Auto at a time when the scooter market went into a tailspin and motorcycle sales started booming. He joined the company in 1990 and oversaw the Bajaj Auto's shift to motorcycles.

The 59-year-old Bajaj Auto was set up by Rahul Bajaj's grandfather, Jamnalal Bajaj, as Bachraj Trading Corporation in November 1945. It started sales in India in 1948 by importing two- and three-wheelers. The company obtained a licence to produce two-wheelers and became a public limited company in 1960.

The Harvard-educated Rahul Bajaj joined the company in 1965 and was instrumental in making Bajaj Auto one of the leading two-wheeler makers in the world and India's largest three-wheeler company. Now, the company has three plants at Waluj (Aurangabad), Akurdi (Pune) and Chakan (Pune).

In 1986, Bajaj Auto entered into a technical alliance with Japan's Kawasaki Heavy Industries and produced a host of motorcycles, including the KB100, Boxer, Caliber 115 and the cruiser bike, Kawasaki Bajaj Eliminator.

The long-standing tie-up had led to speculation that Kawasaki might buy equity in Bajaj Auto. The rumours were fuelled by the fact the Kawasaki had decided to source sub-200cc motorcycles for its global markets from Bajaj Auto's Waluj plant, starting with the Wind 125.

During 2003-04, the company posted all-time high sales of 1.5 million two- and three-wheelers, including 1 million motorcycles. Bajaj Auto donned a new identity -- a new symbol, logo and brandline -- in January 2004, in line with the new-generation of leaders who are expected to take charge of the company.

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