Ashok Leyland's Chairman Emeritus, R J Shahaney passed away on Tuesday after a brief illness. Shahaney was Ashok Leyland’s first Indian managing director and served in that capacity from 1978 till 1998. He subsequently served as the company's chairman until 2010.
Shahaney laid the strong foundation in manufacturing, engineering and technology for the company. In an era when Ashok Leyland, being a foreign company, faced challenges for growth, he had the courage to embark on an expansion plan led to the company's growth. The plants at Hosur, Alwar and Bhandara came up during his tenure.
He was also instrumental in forging technology alliances for engines, gearboxes, cabins as well as development efforts for multi axle vehicles and defence vehicles.
While he was the president of SIAM and AIEI (CII), he used every forum and occasion to take up the cause of the commercial vehicle industry with the government and industry bodies, earning the respect of his peers in business and industry. He went on to serve as the chairman of IndusInd Bank.
“We mourn the loss of a great leader, ally and friend. Mr Shahaney was with Ashok Leyland and the group for over three decades, leading the company to where we are today. Under his able leadership, we expanded our footprint and manufacturing capacity. Even after his retirement, he was always available to share his wisdom and was a personal friend of the Hinduja family. A towering personality, he will be sorely missed by a generation of professionals who interacted with him,” Dheeraj Hinduja, chairman, Ashok Leyland, said.
“While I did not have the good fortune of working with Mr Shahaney directly, I had the privilege of knowing him personally. I have always looked up to him and what he has done for Ashok Leyland, he had the courage and resilience like no one else. His vision has inspired leaders of all generations and Ashok Leyland is fortunate that we had a leader like him. His contribution to the Company and the industry is unparalleled. He was part of our family and we all will truly miss him,” Vipin Sondhi, MD & CEO, Ashok Leyland, said.