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Indian automaker Mahindra unveils top management reshuffle

Anish Shah to become CEO in 2021

Mahindra's sales of passenger vehicles slumped 15% in the first six months of this fiscal year, as much as that of commercial vehicles.   © AP

MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Mahindra and Mahindra unveiled a top-level management reshuffle, aimed at grooming the next level of leadership that will have its task cut out: steer the company out of one of the worst-ever downturns gripping the Indian automobile market.

Pawan Goenka, who is currently the managing director, has been given the additional responsibility of CEO from April 2020 to November when his tenure ends, the company said in a statement. He will be reappointed as MD and CEO until April 2021. Mumbai-based Mahindra appointed its current group president for strategy, Anish Shah, as the managing director and chief executive with effect from 2021, when Goenka retires.

The sport-utility vehicle maker also re-designated the group head Anand Mahindra as the non-executive chairman with effect from April, from his current role as the executive chairman.

"This plan reflects M&M's depth of management talent and will ensure continuity in terms of culture, values, governance, and operational effectiveness," said Mahindra.

Shah, the MD and CEO-designate at M&M, will also join the board as the deputy managing director and take over the role of chief financial officer in April, for a year. His appointment as MD and CEO following that will be for a period of four years from 2021.

The management rejig at Mahindra comes at a time when India's automobile industry grapples with a downturn, triggered by a liquidity crisis at the nation's banking sector. The industry is heading toward the first annual decline in vehicles sales in six years in the fiscal year ending in March, spurring cutbacks in production and stirring job losses. The weak consumer sentiment also pushed Asia's third-largest economy into a slowdown, with growth grinding at the slowest pace in six years in July-September.

Mahindra's sales of passenger vehicles slumped 15% in the first six months of this fiscal year, as much as that of commercial vehicles.

Amid the slowdown, the Indian company has been trying to rejuvenate its business, striking up partnerships with global brands such as Ford Motor. The Ford deal, struck in October, offers Mahindra a partner to develop and sell its vehicles in India and emerging markets using the U.S. automaker's production facilities, lower its costs, and limit its investments.

Shares of Mahindra lost 0.9% in Mumbai trading on Friday, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex closed little changed.

-- Dhanya Ann Thoppil

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