Rajesh Jejurikar, who quit Mahindra and Mahindra last year, has been reinducted into the group as the head of its tractor division. He will replace Bishwambhar Mishra, who has moved into a new role as director, Mahindra Institute of Quality.
Jejurikar had quit the Mumbai-based automobile manufacturer to join Zee Entertainment Enterprise as its president. But, after less than a year with the media conglomerate, he is back with M&M. He will take over as chief executive (tractor and farm mechanisation) with effect from April 1.
In his first stint with M&M, he had worked as the chief executive officer of its automotive division, responsible for overseeing marketing and sales of products such as Xylo, a multi-purpose vehicle, and Mahindra Renault Logan (now Mahindra Verito). A veteran at the company, he has spent more than 11 years with M&M.
Jejurikar has also been made a member of the group's executive board and will look after the tractor businesses of both the Mahindra and Swaraj brands. In addition, he will also be in charge of the group's construction equipment business and asset management (capital purchase) business, among other things.
A product of the SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai, Jejurikar has also spent several years in the consumer goods industry. He has worked as senior general manager of Marico, the maker of Parachute and Saffola.
He joined M&M as executive vice-president after nine years at Marico, and was entrusted with the task of reviving the fortunes of the Logan, which was a product of its joint venture with French auto maker Renault. He was soon promoted as chief executive officer, responsible for Logan.
Though the car continued to perform poorly in India before M&M decided to take over the joint venture, Jejurikar was given the additional charge of chief executive (automotive division). M&M has been facing rising challenges at home from regional players such as International Tractors (Sonalika), Tafe, Escorts, John Deere and Force Motors.
With two brands, Swaraj and Mahindra, the company accounts for 41 per cent of the market share, as reported in the first half of this financial year. With companies like US-based John Deere - one of the largest tractor manufacturers in the world - trying to gain a foothold in the country with its smaller and cheaper tractors, Jejurikar's challenge would be to maintain M&M's leadership position in the segment, which contributes 21 per cent to the group's gross revenues.