A Tribute to Jagdish Khattar - The Man behind Maruti's Magical Turnaround

Jagdish Khattar, 78, was at the helm of Maruti Suzuki as MD & CEO between 1999-2007
  • Published On: 26/04/21
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Jagdish Khattar

News Highlights

  • Khattar was a decorated IAS Officer before joining Maruti Suzuki in 1993
  • Jagdish Khattar spent 14 years at Maruti Suzuki before quitting in 2007
  • He is survived by a son named Kunal Khattar who is an angel investor

Mr. Jagdish Khattar is widely regarded as one of the most prolific, visionary and influential leaders in the Indian automobile industry. Today, Mr. Khattar, who is credited for the magical turn around of Maruti Suzuki, breathed his last and passed away at the age of 78 years due to cardiac arrest. Prior to joining Maruti Suzuki as CEO & MD, He was an ace bureaucrat who held multiple high profile positions in the Uttar Pradesh state government as well as the Government of India. The demise of one of the auto industry's pioneers has indeed shocked the entire automobile fraternity, including his colleagues at Maruti Suzuki and Indian Administrative Services.

Jagdish Khattar was born on December 18, 1942 in a family of entrepreneurs. He joined the highly prestigious Indian Administrative Services in 1969 before finally bidding adieu in 1993 after a rich experience of over 26 years. During this period, he was at the helm of several high level posts such as Chairman and Managing Director of UP State Cement Corporation, Chairman of UP State Road Transport Corporation and Joint Secretary in Ministry of Steel in Government of India. Mr. Khattar was an exemplary public servant with an impeccable service record. It was in 1993 when he first joined Maruti Suzuki as Director of Marketing and subsequently went on to become the Managing Director six years later in 1999 as Government of India's nominee.

Speaking on his untimely demise and recalling the time spent with the legend himself, Mr. Sandeep Aggarwal, Founder & CEO, Droom said, "Jagdish Khattar was my hero. I always cherished his advice and guidance. He was legendary and among the greatest business leaders in our country. He contributed a lot in nation building by swift adoption of automobiles. I grew up seeing how he led and shaped up one of the greatest automobile stories globally. We will miss him a lot." Khattar is widely applauded and hailed as the man who turned around the fortunes of Maruti Suzuki by increasing its profit margin to five times. The country's largest automaker stayed unfazed from the competition which had several other foreign heavyweights such as Hyundai, General Motors, Fiat, Honda and Ford. He was instrumental behind taking Maruti's annual income from Rs 9000 Crores to Rs 22000 Crores with annual profit at nearly 1730 Crores.

After a glorious period of 14 years, He quit as the MD & CEO of Maruti Suzuki on December 18, 2007. Khattar ventured into entrepreneurship soon thereafter by launching an one-of-its-kind independent multi-brand pan India sales and service initiative called 'Carnation Auto'. However, he could not repeat the success of Maruti Suzuki with Carnation Auto and the venture was bought off by Mahindra First Choice in 2018. Identical to almost every successful individual, Jagdish Khattar too had his share of controversies. He was charged with a fraud of Rs 110 Crores with Punjab National Bank and a case was registered in his name under various sections of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) by the CBI. However, Khattar came out clean as CBI wasn't able to find any evidence against him and the case had to be closed

So, today as he has bid goodbye to all of us, we surely have lost an amazing human being and a competent leader in the automotive arena. We at Droom share our deepest condolences at his demise and pray that his soul rests in peace. Also, may the almighty give strength to the bereaved family and his peers and fans to bear this loss. Mr. Khattar, you will be sorely missed!

Read Also: 2021 Renault Triber Launched at Rs 5.30 Lakhs

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Mayank Gupta
Author Mayank Gupta

A mechanical engineering dropout by choice, Mayank has been in the auto journalism biz for the past 8 years. He is currently working as an Associate Editor at Droom Discovery and covering each and every aspect of the auto industry. He has worked with a plethora of renowned Auto brands in his illustrious career so far. Being a student of English Literature, his mantras of success are the Never-Say-Never attitude and self-confidence. Mayank likes to travel, read books and listen to music during his free time.

  • Published On: 26/04/21
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