Shenu Agarwal will have his task cut out as he takes over as the MD and CEO of bus and truck maker, Ashok Leyland. The company has been without a CEO for exactly a year, since erstwhile MD, Vipin Sondhi, quit in December 2021. Chairman Dheeraj Hinduja was steering the company while the search was on for a suitable MD.
The previous two incumbents, R Seshasayee and Vinod Dasari had had long stints in the company as its MD, so an exit by Sondhi after just two years at the top had surprised the industry.
Agarwal will have to drive the technology transition which the industry is currently seeing, especially in the context of alternative fuel technology, electric mostly. He will also have to drive Leyland to gain more market share in the medium and heavy commercial vehicles (MHCV) segment. Its share had flagged a bit last year but it has clawed its way back to a 32 per cent share in the MHCVs at present. He will also need to pursue volume growth in the LCV segment by plugging gaps in its portfolio.
The former Escorts hand will also need to draw up the future strategy for the company in international markets and push the company towards its vision of being among the top 10 CV players globally. It ranks number four in buses and in trucks at 14.
Agarwal joins the ₹21,288-crore, Chennai-headquartered, Hinduja flagship from tractors and agri-equipment maker Escorts Kubota Ltd, where he was President, Agri-Machinery and Construction Equipment. Before that, he was the CEO for the agri-machinery business of Escorts for more than seven years and was associated closely with the transformation of the company’s farm equipment business, driving transformative marketing initiatives, launching disruptive business models and products, and setting new benchmarks in cost efficiency.
Agarwal, an MBA from Duke University, USA, and a B.Tech from NIT Kurukshetra, brings with him more than 30 years of experience. He has worked across sales and marketing, product development, R&D, strategy and project management.
“Our focus on reliability, ambition to achieve global scale and our constant pursuit of enhancing stakeholder value at Ashok Leyland will get further strengthened with Shenu at the helm,” said Chairman Hinduja when Agarwal was appointed.