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After the reins, Rajiv gets the Bajaj mantle

Mumbai, March 12: Rajiv Bajaj, the young scion of the Bajaj family, was today anointed joint managing director of Bajaj Auto.

However, corporate circles consider this a “mere formality” in one of the most deft grooming exercises planned among Indian business families.

In the past, the outspoken Rahul Bajaj, chairman and managing director of Bajaj Auto and Rajiv’s father, had made it clear that he was grooming his eldest son for the top job. “I am history, and they (Rajiv and Sanjiv) are the future,” he had said during the launch of the cruiser Eliminator a couple of years ago.

“Rajiv Bajaj, president and whole-time director, has been made the joint managing director of the company with effect from March 12, 2003. The decision was taken at the board meeting today at Pune,” a statement, curiously signed by vice-chairman Madhur Bajaj, said.

Rajiv had joined Bajaj Auto as an officer-on-special-duty on December 19, 1990. The company was then struggling to create a niche in the fast expanding motorcycle segment. Since then, he has had a meteoric rise as he restructured and modernised the products along with the manufacturing facilities.

He became vice-president (products) in July 1995 and was elevated to the position of president in May 2000. Subsequently, he was inducted into the board as a whole-time director on March 5, 2002.

Rajiv is 36, a BE (Mech) first class with distinction from Pune University (1988) and an M Sc with distinction in manufacturing systems engineering from the University of Warwick, UK (1991). Having obtained an extensive on-the-job training in the company, he has been leading, for more than a decade, a major technological and marketing reorientation in the company.

He has been spearheading Bajaj Auto's transition from a predominant scooter and three-wheeler manufacturer to a formidable force to reckon with in the motorcycle segment as well as in the areas of product design, development, manufacturing and marketing. Sources give him credit for the setting up of Bajaj’s modern plant at Chakan (near Pune) and the in-house development of the Pulsar and BYK range of motorcycles.

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