- Category: National
CHENNAI: The recent top-level churn in the passenger car industry in India has outlined the renewed faith that
major automakers have evinced in industry veterans. The three high-profile changes that have been announced in the past one week all involve executives with decades of work experience in the automobile business. That is in direct contrast to the trend in the early 2000s when many top companies in the auto business opted for executives with FMCG backgrounds for critical functions like sales and marketing. Top of the roster of gasoline old-hands landing a new role is Karl Slym. This former General Motors India CEO did extremely well in handling GM's bankruptcy and Chapter 11 crisis in India, not letting the company's global woes affect the Indian brand. Known for his innovative thinking, Slym's biggest achievement was to extend GM's Chinese joint venture with SAIC to cover the Indian operations. Auto experts say Slym's innovative streak will come in handy when he takes over as the CEO of Tata Motors. The other industry veteran whose new assignment has just been announced is Hyundai Motor India's director sales and marketing Arvind Saxena. Saxena has now joined Volkswagen as MD, passenger cars and will be responsible for sales, after sales and marketing. Like Slym, Saxena has years of experience in the car industry and is considered a gasoline veteran by the auto experts. Like him, another old auto hand has just returned to India. Ford's former marketing head Vinay Piparsania will take over from Nigel Wark as executive director of the company. Sources say this renewed interest and faith in automobile industry veterans shows the insecurity of a market that has seen its top gear growth grind to a single digit trot. "When the market was booming, companies could afford to take the risk of employing industry outsiders for some fresh ideas," said a partner with an MNC consultancy firm. "Now that the going is tough, people want to go back to what is tried and tested."