Royal Enfield Motors, the bikemaking arm of Eicher Motors Limited, has appointed Dr. Venki Padmanabhan as its new Chief Executive Officer early this year. During his two-year tenure as its COO under marketing wizard CEO R.L. Ravichandran, the company posted a 21 pc growth in sales volume, 54 pc growth in sales turnover and a return to two digit profitability (EBIT as a percent of Sales). In his current position, he reports to Siddhartha Lal, Managing Director of Eicher Motors Limited. Dr. Padmanabhan attended the New York IMS where he introduced the company's 2011 line of motorcycles.
R.L. Ravichandran has joined the EML board as Executive Director with additional responsibility for Royal Enfield’s Global
Prior to joining Royal Enfield in December 2008, Dr. Padmanabhan, a citizen of the United States of America and an Overseas Citizen of India, was Managing Director of Chrysler’s South East Asia Global Sourcing Office based in Chennai.
Dr. Padmanabhan started his career at General Motors at its Warren Technical Center in 1989 where he served in positions of increasing responsibility in advanced manufacturing research, product engineering and plant manufacturing. In 1999 he got his first taste of Lean Manufacturing at GM’s turn of the century Buick City Assembly Plant in Flint, Michigan assembling Buick Park Avenues and Pontiac Bonnevilles. From 2000-2004 he served as a Production Shift Leader in GM’s first Greenfield Assembly Plant in 15 years at Lansing Grand River Assembly from where the Cadillac Brand was restored to its former glory with the introduction of the CTS, SRX and STS. In 2004, he joined DaimlerChrysler Corporation to support the integration of Lean Manufacturing in its diverse operations and was part of the team that got Chrysler Corporation to achieve double digit, industry leading productivity improvements as reported by Harbour and Associates in 2007. Productivity improvements needs of the Mercedes Car Division drew him to Stuttgart, Germany in 2006 where he worked at its Component, Powertrain and Assembly plants around Germany while reporting to the Division’s Vice President of Production Planning, Simon Boag. Throughout his automotive career he has experienced the agony and ecstasy of struggling to resuscitate fabled brands at GM, Chrysler and Mercedes.
Dr. Padmanabhan received his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 1991, and holds a M.S. in Engineering Management from the University of Pittsburgh and a B.S. in Mechanical (Automotive) Engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology in Ranchi, India.
Royal Enfield has been producing motorcycles for over 100 years, The company was founded in England in 1901, but in 1955, the manufacturing of the brand moved to its new headquarters in Chennai, India. Royal Enfield’s legacy in weapons manufacturing served as inspiration for the Bullet model name and brand's enduring motto "Made Like A Gun, Goes Like A Bullet".
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