Two weeks ago, Chennai-based leading auto component house Rane Group announced a significant transition in its leadership and said that Ganesh Lakshminarayan aka L Ganesh would relinquish his role as Chairman of the operating entities of Rane Group, effective from close of business hours on March 31, 2024. 

Ganesh is one of the acknowledged leaders in the field of auto ancillary industry. The septuagenarian leader, who served as a Chairman of the Rane Group for 17-odd years, will pass on the baton to Harish Lakshman, eldest son of L Lakshman, elder brother of Ganesh. 

Ganesh’s period saw Rane grow from strength to strength, building on the wonderful foundation established by his father L L Narayan (LLN) and brother Lakshman. It is learned that LLN turned Rane, which was essentially a trading house, into an industrial enterprise with several state-of-the-art manufacturing units. Lakshman took charge as the Chairman of the Group in 1989. 

Beginning his career as a Management Trainee in Rane Engine Valves Ltd (REVL) in 1978, Ganesh progressively handled various responsibilities and rose to become its Vice Chairman in 1994 and Managing Director in 2007.

Born on March 18, 1954, Ganesh -- a chartered accountant who holds an MBA from Pennsylvania State University, USA -- has close to five decades of industry experience and pioneered the TQM (total quality movement). 

Thanks to Ganesh’s quest for quality, three of Rane’s businesses won the coveted Deming Grand Prize under his leadership. He was also conferred with the prestigious Deming Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the dissemination and promotion (overseas) of TQM in 2022. 

Ganesh was the third Indian and fifth globally to be bestowed with this prestigious award for his contributions. 

Ethics, integrity, professionalism and growth blended with financial conservatism are described as hallmarks of Rane’s culture. 

While Ganesh’s tenure saw multiple business cycles for the group companies, Rane under Ganesh’s leadership successfully operated the joint ventures amid the global-level restructuring of the businesses of its JV partners. 

His vision was to grow the business more and more globally and with deepened focus, the group has gradually been growing its share of international business. 

During his tenure, the group’s revenue grew from ₹1,050 crore to about ₹7,200 crore, with exports doubling from to 24 per cent. Ganesh is confident that the share will grow further to 30 per cent in the next few years. 

Traditionally, Indian companies are known for low R&D spends. Rane was no exception. But, with the advent of new automotive technologies and the growing need for rapid response from suppliers, the group has realised the need to spend more on R&D. Ganesh has set out a target to more than double the R&D spend of the group as a percentage of sales in the coming years from the present 0.5-0.75 per cent. 

A major development under his stewardship was the recent restructuring exercise under which the group has decided to merge two of its listed companies – Rane Brake Lining and Rane Engine Valve, with its other listed company Rane (Madras), with a view to create a unified platform. This is a historic and game-changing move by the group. 

At the national level, L Ganesh has been an articulate spokesman for the automotive industry and served various industry bodies such as the Confederation of Indian Industry, the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India and the Madras Management Association (1991-92). Currently, he is the Honorary Consul for New Zealand in South India. 

He is widely travelled and a keen follower of cricket and tennis. He is married and has a daughter and a son. Ganesh’s son, Aditya Ganesh, is also part of the group and is today the President of Rane Madras. 

Ganesh will continue to serve on the Board in the capacity of Non-Executive Director, he will also continue as Chairman and Managing Director of Rane Holdings Ltd, the holding company of the Group.