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Mercedes Benz India to elevate Santosh Iyer to managing director

The German automaker said that an official communication with details is expected soon.

By  Storyboard18Aug 28, 2022 10:41 AM
Mercedes Benz India to elevate Santosh Iyer to managing director
Mercedes-Benz India's current marketing chief Santosh Iyer, will take over as the new India managing director of the premium auto brand early next year, as per a report.

Santosh Iyer, vice president - sales marketing, Mercedes-Benz India, is being elevated to the position of managing director of the company, as per a report. Sources within the company have confirmed this to Storyboard18, adding that the details will follow soon. The development was first reported by ETAuto. Declining to comment on the leadership change that could be in the offing, Mercedes-Benz India said that an official communication is expected soon. It also indicated that Iyer's designation will not change immediately.

The auto news portal, quoting sources, said that from January 1, 2023, Iyer will be taking over the position from Martin Schwenk who is all set to take over a global role. Iyer has been heading the marketing and customer service efforts of the luxury German carmaker in India for close to seven consecutive years.

If Iyer takes the MD role, he would join two other Indian leaders who head German luxury carmakers. Currently, Vikram Pawah is the CEO and president and CEO of BMW India, and Balbir Singh Dhillon is the head of Audi India.

Iyer joined the company in 2009 as vice president and rose to the current position in 2019. He took over the responsibility from Michael Jo who moved to Mercedes-Benz Malaysia, after successfully completing his India tenure.

With two decades of diverse experience in the Indian automobile domain, Iyer has worked across functions including sales, marketing, retail, customer service and corporate affairs.

During his earlier stint as the head of marketing communications, CRM and PR at Ford India; he led brand campaigns and digital outreach programmes. He started his automobile career with Toyota Kirloskar Motor in 2004. Iyer, a commerce graduate, did his PG in business management from the University of Indianapolis.

The German luxury carmaker recently said that it expected sales in India this year to surpass its pre-covid numbers as it battles a chip shortage and logistic bottlenecks.

In the first two quarters of the calendar year 2022, the company sold around 9,000 units. That is compared to 15,538 units in 2018, followed by 13,786 units in calendar year 2019, before covid-19 pulled down sales. The company sold 7,893 and 11,242 units in 2020 and 2021.

Continuing its focus on electric vehicles (EVs), the company said that it expects 25 percent of its total sales to come from EVs over the next five years.

In an earlier interview with Storyboard18, Iyer emphasised on the need to invest in EVs.

"It's the biggest dilemma and challenge for the marketers to accept and continue the investments in markets as far as EV products are concerned. It is also challenging for brands like ours which have both traditional internal combustion (IC) engines and EVs," he noted.

"On one hand, we need to ensure that the current business continues and we are also trying to transition. We are committed and we have made it clear that we won't have any IC engines product in the world by 2025," he added.

First Published on Aug 28, 2022 10:41 AM