While it's a dream run for Tata Motors in terms of sales, profits and business expansion for the last 2-3 years, but India's largest automobile company is facing critical management issues - certain key posts at the top are lying vacant.
Ever since Carl Peter Forster, who came in as CEO & MD at Tata Motors in January 2010 to look after both India and overseas operations, left in September 2011 and since then nobody has been appointed to that post.
PM Telang, now managing director, India operations; and Ralf Speth, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover, report directly to the board of directors of Tata Motors.Ever since Telang, then executive director, was promoted to the post of managing director India operations in June 2009, no top executive from the company has been appointed to the board.
Rajiv Dube, president, passenger car business unit, quit two years back. The post is still vacant. Girish Wagh, as head, passenger car operations, leads product development initiatives and R Ramakrishnan, vice-president, commercial, passenger car business unit heads marketing operations.
When Telang retires in June this year, Tata Motors will have to find his successor. When asked about the key posts lying vacant, the company spokesperson said: "Tata Motors does not discuss such matters".
However, industry sources say Tatas are looking actively both inside and outside the company to fill in these top positions. "I think they are soon going to address this leadership issue," said Hormazd Sorabji, editor, Auto Car magazine.
The company has been doing exceptionally well in the recent past, though some top positions remain vacant. Tata Motors is the second best performing stock globally this year, according to Bloomberg.
"It is such a large organisation with its own built-in momentum," said Sorabji. "Only a prolonged period of vacuum at the top will have an effect."
Surjit Arora, auto analyst, Prabhudas Liladhar, echoes the same. "This leadership issue did not even have a negligible impact," he said. "The JLR business which now contribute 80-85% of the bottomline is doing so well and the company's management focus seem to be mainly on that."
The $27-billion Tata Motors' domestic business had a rather tepid start this fiscal year as car sales were 7% and commercial vehicle sales were down by 5%in April.