In what would go a long way in helping Hero Motocorp-backed Ather Energy establish a presence in India’s massive two-wheeler market, the electric vehicle upstart has now hired former CEO of the infamous Royal Enfield brand, Venkatesh Padmanabhan, as its COO.
Considering the kind of expertise and repute Padmanabhan brings with him, he will handle some key areas at Ather. These include heading the supply chain, quality, manufacturing, and service delivery, apart form being a key stakeholder in major company decisions.
Apart from his perhaps only non-automotive, recent stint at Cyient, Padmanabhan has had a rather illustrious run with automakers. He worked at Royal Enfield as its CFO from 2008 to 2011. He then took over as company’s CEO for a period of two years, from 2011-2013. His automotive leadership roots go even deeper, with his resume boasting of leadership roles at GM and Daimler Chrysler in its Chrysler Division and then Mercedes Car Division.
Pretty much stressing on how his automotive experience helps Ather, company CEO Tarun Mehta says,
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.
Ather also recently hired Thiruppathy Srinivasan as its vice president of vehicle development. Srinivas currently serves as a Senior Advisor of Industry Relations at the Center for Industrial Consultancy & Sponsored Research at IIT Madras.
The company, apart from these high-profile hirings, has been on a bull run itself, at least on the financial front. It recently galloped a massive ₹180 crore investment from India’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, Hero Motocorp. Prior to that, the company scored a $12 Million round from Tiger Global in its early days.
On the tech front, there has been absolute silence. While it did announce its fully-electric scooter last year, the scooter is still in its “pre-order interest phase” on its website. That basically means, that even pre-orders are yet to start, and you can express interest for pre-ordering by filling up a form. How much interest the scooter has generated, is unknown.
The company, like most electric vehicle enthusiasts in India, says that it is facing difficulties in going past regulations to install charging stations across locations.
In context, Tesla is already gearing up for an India entry, and boy we are excited!