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Maruti chief quits CII post

New Delhi, Oct. 4: Maruti Udyog managing director Jagdish Khattar has resigned as CII (northern region) chairman, ostensibly to focus on the restructuring that is going on at the country’s largest automaker.

Although Khattar has not resigned from the other posts he holds on CII’s national committees —he is head of the committee for the auto sector, member of the national committee on quality and CII’s national council—there’s a buzz that he may demit these posts as well. “Khattar has not informed our office about any change in his intentions. He still continues to be an office bearer,” said CII official sources.

One view is that with Maruti Udyog directly coming under the control of the Japanese automaker Suzuki Motor Corporation, Khattar might have been asked to concentrate more on the company, which has been losing market share in a very tight market. CII officials tried to scotch speculation that the sudden resignation had anything to do with the automaker’s strained relations with the apex chamber.

In January, Maruti Udyog did not participate in the CII-sponsored Auto Expo in Delhi to showcase two new models that the company then had in the pipeline—the Grand Vitara, a sports utility vehicle, and Ignis, a mid-sized sedan. It’s another matter that after the sharp downturn in the demand for cars this year, most automakers have put off the launch of their new models till next year.

Khattar was not available for comment.

“There cannot be any serious issues between the chamber and Khattar. It is most likely to be an internal policy matter,” said officials of the Society of Automobile Manufacturers Association, where Khattar is vice-president. SIAM is a member of CII.

Khattar also holds a position on the PM’s business committee and Bhure Lal Environment Committee.

Recently after the disinvestment in Maruti Udyog, Khattar was given a second stint in the company.

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