Ather Energy, the smart electric two-wheeler start-up, today announced the new addition of Dr. Venkatesh Padmanabhan as the Chief Operating Officer. Fondly known as Venki, he will head supply chain, quality, manufacturing, and service delivery at Ather.
“For my 10 years in India, I have been wrestling with this singular question: can we, will we create world beating consumer hardware products and brands from scratch? We are great in value engineering, local sourcing manufacturing and even at detail engineering of designs of others. But what about solving hairy consumer problems with our own design, and our own brand?” said Venki. “When I met Tarun, Swapnil and their team at Ather, it was like a lightning bolt hit me. They surely have great brand, design and engineering mojo and are in early stages of building detail engineering and manufacturing capability. I thought I had value to add to this exciting quest and I signed up.”
“Venki’s career has taken him to multiple countries and multiple automotive companies. He has a strong knowledge base of the operational requirements for an automotive company, specially two wheelers. His network and his experience in the industry is a valuable asset for a young company.” said Tarun Mehta, CEO, Ather Energy. “Ather is a young company, building on a new platform with a nascent to often non-existent vendor ecosystem. Venki’s exposure to vendors and manufacturing processes in India will prove a strategic advantage as we close in on the production of the S340.”
After 15 years at General Motors, in 2004 Dr. Padmanabhan joined Daimler Chrysler’s (DCX) Chrysler Division to support the integration of Lean Manufacturing in its diverse operations and later also worked at Mercedes Car Division. He was brought to India in 2007 as Managing Director of Chrysler’s first South East Asia Global Sourcing Centre in Chennai from where the company today sources close to $1B every year in automotive parts.
He joined Royal Enfield as Chief Operating Officer in 2008 and rose to the position of Chief Executive Officer in 2011. During this period, with two successful launches of the Classic and Thunderbird single cylinder UCE based motorcycles, the company saw a threefold increase in sales and twenty fold increase in profits. Royal Enfield now is a brand reborn and thriving in India and 45 other countries.
In 2013, Dr. Padmanabhan served as the MD & CEO of EICL (English Indian Clays Limited) to help recast a 75 year old $80M Kaolin Clay and Starch Producer into a modern innovation driven specialty chemicals company. He moved to Cyient in October 2015 to integrate its acquisition of Rangsons Electronics into extending the detail engineering offerings of its aerospace, defense, rail, medical and consumer business units into complete life cycle offerings.