Top level rejig at Maruti as Osamu cracks the whip

  • Sumant Banerji, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 02, 2014 00:11 IST

In a major senior level restructuring at India's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, three of the four highest ranked Indians in the top management of the company were sidelined on Thursday. Sources said the directive for these changes came directly from Suzuki Chairman Osamu Suzuki and was aimed at punishing those held responsible for the spate of labour unrest that plagued the firm between 2011 and 2012.

The three executives--M M Singh, chief operating officer (production), S Y Siddiqui, COO, administration and Sudam Maitra, COO supply chain, have all been re-designated as chief mentor. While Singh and Maitra have been replaced by Rajiv Gandhi, executive director (production) and Deepak Sethi chief general manager (supply chain) respectively. Siddiqui's broad portfolio that included human resource, finance, information and technology, company law and legal departments has been debunked altogether and those reporting to him would now report directly to Kenichi Ayukawa, managing director and CEO at Maruti. The only senior executive who escaped the axe was Mayank Pareek, COO, marketing and sales who has now been re-designated as senior executive officer.

The high profile restructuring was anticipated in the wake of labour unrest in 2011 followed by violence at the Manesar factory in 2012 that led to a month long lockout at the plant. The violence led to the death of a senior human resource executive Avinash Kumar Dev.

"Osamu Suzuki has repeatedly in the past bemoaned that none of the Indian executives ever took responsibility for the labour unrest," said a senior official at Maruti. "None of the Indian chief executives had any idea about this restructuring. Only the senior level Japanese executives and possibly R C Bhargava (non executive Chairman) were aware of it. There has been a juggling of designations throughout as well. The post of COO has been discontinued altogether and now the highest designation for an Indian would be senior executive officer."

In 2011, workers at Manesar had gone on a 2 month long strike that led to a production loss of 65,000 units. After an uneasy truce, unresolved issues led to violence on the shop-floor on July 18, 2012. The Manesar factory has an annual capacity to manufacture over 550,000 units and bestselling cars like Swift and Dzire are made there.

All the three executives and Maruti's spokesperson could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

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