Hero MotoCorp-backed electric two-wheeler start-up Ather
Energy said it has hired former Royal Enfield
head Dr Venkatesh Padmanabhan as its chief operating officer (COO). Padmanabhan, known as Venki, will head supply chain, quality, manufacturing, and service delivery at Ather, the firm said on Tuesday.
"For my 10 years in India, I have been wrestling with this singular question: will we create world-beating consumer hardware products and brands from scratch? We are great at value engineering, local sourcing, manufacturing
and even at detail engineering
of designs of others. But what about solving consumer problems with respect to our own design and brand?" said Padmanabhan in a statement.
"When I met Tarun, Swapnil and their team at Ather, it was like a lightning bolt hit me. They surely have a great brand, design and engineering mojo. Currently, the start-up
is in the early stages of building detail engineering
capability. I thought I had value to add to this exciting quest so I signed up," he added.
After 15 years at General Motors, in 2004, Padmanabhan joined Daimler-Chrysler's (DCX) Chrysler Division to support the integration of lean manufacturing
in its diverse operations. Later, he also worked at Mercedes' car division. He was brought to India in 2007 as the managing director of Chrysler's first South East Asia Global Sourcing Centre in Chennai, from where the company sources close to $1 billion every year in automotive parts.
He joined Royal Enfield
as COO in 2008 and rose to the position of chief executive officer (CEO) in 2011. During this period, with the successful launches of the Classic and Thunderbird single-cylinder UCE-based motorcycles, the company saw a three-fold increase in sales and a twenty-fold increase in profits.
Now, Royal Enfield
is a reborn brand that thrives in India and 45 other countries.
In 2013, Padmanabhan served as the MD & CEO of EICL (English Indian Clays Limited) to help recast a 75-year-old $80-million kaolin clay & starch producer into a modern innovation-driven speciality chemicals company. He moved to Cyient in October 2015 to integrate its acquisition with Rangsons Electronics. This extended the detail engineering
offerings of its aerospace, defence, rail, medical, and consumer business units into complete lifecycle offerings.