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Maruti gets a new boss

New Delhi, Dec. 18: Shinzo Nakanishi will take over as the managing director of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) tomorrow. He will be the first Japanese to be at the helm of Maruti.

He succeeds Jagdish Khattar, who retired today after serving the company as managing director and CEO for nearly eight years.

Khattar is credited with steering Maruti Suzuki India during its privatisation, when the government exited the joint venture.

Under his leadership, the company captured a market share of over 50 per cent in India — Asia’s third-largest market in the last five years. A nearly zero-debt company, it has cash reserves of about $1 billion and is undertaking investments of nearly $2 billion, funding it largely from internal accruals.

Nakanishi, who is 60, has served Suzuki Motor Company for 36 years, which owns 54.2 per cent of Maruti.

He has been the chairman of Maruti for five years and has played a significant role during its formative period.

Maruti was started as a joint venture between the Indian government and Suzuki in the early 1980s and rolled out its first car in December 1983.

During his long stint with Suzuki, Nakanishi has served as the group’s key person in markets such as China, Indonesia, Hungary, Pakistan and East Asia.

Nakanishi has the additional responsibility of overseeing Suzuki’s operations in India, China and West Asia as the executive general manager of the overseas automobile marketing division of Suzuki.

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