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Indians given key slots at Maruti

By Suveen K Sinha in New Delhi
April 21, 2008 09:22 IST
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Maruti Suzuki India, which last year dropped Udyog as its middle name and appointed its first Japanese managing director, has set up a new management structure installing five Indians in crucial decision-making positions.

This layer forms the second rung of the company's executive management, just below managing director S Nakanishi. Earlier, when Jagdish Khattar was the managing director, he was the only Indian in the top management.

The new structure has two executives, one Indian and the other Japanese, heading the five critical functions of the company - production, sales & marketing, procurement, administration & engineering, and research & development.

Both the Indian and the Japanese have the same designation of management executive officer. However, there is one distinction - the Japanese is also a member of the board of directors, while the Indian is invited to attend all board meetings.

The new structure is a part of the managing director's agenda to "develop managers in Maruti Suzuki to manage growth of the company and take top management positions". A spokesperson for the company confirmed the new order.

The new management structure has MM Singh and M Ohashi heading production, IV Rao and Keiichi Asai at the top of engineering and R&D, SY Siddiqui and H Nagao heading administration and Mayank Pareek and O Oishi, head of sales & marketing.

However, Pareek, the youngest in this group, a fact borne out by his thick mop of hair, is designated executive officer with all the responsibilities of a management executive officer.

The reverse is true of procurement. S Maitra, a management executive officer, heads the department along with Noriyuki Fujita, a Japanese, who is designated executive officer and is not a director on the board.

The new structure is in keeping with the new management philosophy adopted by Suzuki Motors of Japan, which holds 54.2 per cent of Maruti's equity. Born in the US, the new philosophy envisages smaller boards of directors.

At the same time, it expands the roles and responsibilities at the top and gives decision-making powers to a larger group even if the group's constituents are not directors on the board.

Thus, Rao and Asai also look after service and quality, including parts inspection. Siddiqui and Nagao's department, administration, is more vital in Maruti than in many other companies since it includes information technology, finance and human resource.

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Suveen K Sinha in New Delhi
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