Motorcycle Industry NewsRoyal Enfield Motors, manufacturer the iconic Bullet motorcycle line and the world’s oldest motorcycle brand, announced Tuesday the appointment of Dr. Venki Padmanabhan as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer.
Dr. Padmanabhan first joined royal Enfield two years ago, acting as COO under marketing wizard CEO R.L. Ravichandran. During that time, the company posted a 21-percent growth in sales volume, 54-percent growth in sales turnover and a return to two digit profitability. As CEO of Royal Enfield Motors, he reports to Siddhartha Lal, Managing Director of parent company Eicher Motors Limited.Prior to joining Royal Enfield, Dr. Padmanabhan, a citizen of the United States and an Overseas Citizen of India, was Managing Director of Chrysler’s South East Asia Global Sourcing Office based in Chennai, India and responsible for $1B of material sourced to its parent manufacturing units in the United States.Kevin Mahoney (President of Classic Motorworks, Royal Enfield’s US Distributor) says: "Dr. Padmanabhan has already proven to be an outstanding leader for Royal Enfield while working alongside R.L. Ravichandran as company’s Chief Operating Officer."His world-wide experience in the automotive industry and passion for bringing new life to historic brands make him the ideal candidate to build on the success from recent years and continue Royal Enfield’s growth as global brand."About Dr. Venki PadmanabhanDr. Padmanabhan started his career at General Motors at the Warren Technical Center in 1989, where he specialized in advanced manufacturing research, product engineering, and plant manufacturing. Dr. Padmanabhan was first introduced to Lean Manufacturing in 1999 at GM’s Buick City Assembly Plant in Flint, Michigan and later helped restore the Cadillac brand to its former glory at the company’s Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant, which produced the revitalizing CTS, SRX and STS models. In 2004 Dr. Padmanabhan joined DaimlerChrysler Corporation, where he was part of the team that introduced Lean Manufacturing to the company’s diverse operations and lead Chrysler Corporation to achieve double-digit, industry-leading productivity improvements. Based on that success, Mercedes Car Division drew Dr. Padmanabhan to Stuttgart, Germany in 2006, where he reported to Vice President of Production Planning, Simon Boag and delivered productivity improvements to Component, Powertrain and Assembly plants around Germany.Dr. Padmanabhan received his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 1991, and holds a M.S. in Engineering Management from the University of Pittsburgh and a B.S. in Mechanical (Automotive) Engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology in Ranchi, India.About Royal Enfield MotorsRoyal Enfield motorcycles have been in continuous production since 1901. The marque was first established in 1893 by Enfield Manufacturing Co. of Redditch, Worcestershire, England under license from the Crown. The company’s legacy in weapons manufacturing served as inspiration for the Bullet model name and brand’s enduring motto "Made Like A Gun, Goes Like A Bullet". The Redditch company’s Indian licensee, started assembling Bullet motorcycles in India in 1951 and continued to uphold the brand tradition after the collapse of the British company in 1971. Today, as the owner of the original brand, the $100M Royal Enfield company is headquartered in Chennai, India and operates as a division of the $1B Eicher Group. In recent years, the historic brand has seen a resurgence of interest around the world, selling over 50,000 motorcycles per year to loyal riders in 30 countries.