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Subbu quits Hyundai

New Delhi, March 24: B.V.R Subbu, president of Korean car major Hyundai Motors India Limited (HMIL), today resigned after a decade-long stint with the company.

“I step down from the post of president, HMIL at the end of my term of office effective from March 31, 2006. I leave Hyundai Motor India with a sense of satisfaction at having helped to create and nurture a truly world-class organisation of exceptional promise,” Subbu said in an official release.

Subbu is the third senior executive in the automobile industry to have resigned in quick succession. In December last year, Imran Hassen of Skoda Auto, the Czech unit of the German carmaker Volkswagen Group, resigned. He was replaced by Lukas Folc, chief ' finance department, of the company's Indian subsidiary.

V. Sumantran, executive director (passenger car business and engineering research centre) of Tata Motors, resigned soon after Ravi Kant was made managing director of the company.

Subbu, in Hyundai since 1996, was the force behind Hyundai becoming India's second-biggest carmaker after Maruti Udyog Limited.

Subbu resigned just when Hyundai had embarked on an expansion drive in India, involving investments of $600 million to scale up production to 6,00,000 units from 2,80,000 units within a year. Sources said Subbu will soon set up his own venture capital fund.

Meanwhile, there is no news on who will succeed Subbu. Company officials said “no one is finalised yet”.

In January, HMIL appointed Heung Soo Lheem as managing director of its Indian operations. Lheem said Subbu's exit was “an irreparable loss”, adding that Hyundai would continue to seek his “professional guidance and support”.

“Hyundai acknowledges BVR Subbu's immense contribution from its very inception to the millionth car rolled out recently,” the company said.

Subbu and Lheem had recently celebrated the roll-out of Hyundai’s one-millionth car from its plant near Chennai. The company said it reached the milestone within 90 months of starting production.

Subbu joined Hyundai India in 1996 as director (marketing) and was elevated as president in March 2002, succeeding A.P. Gandhi.

He started his career with the Tata Administrative Services (TAS) in 1977, after completing his masters in economics from the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

After a brief stint with TAS, he moved to Tata Engineering, where he had a big hand in building the company's market share in the multi-utility vehicle, light commercial vehicle and heavy commercial vehicle segments.

While Hyundai India's flagship model, Santro, continues to bring in numbers, other models, especially the much-hyped Getz and Elantra, failed to cut ice with consumers.

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