Managing Director, Ashok Leyland Ltd, has carved a space
for himself in the history of the automobile industry in South India.
Seshasayee took over as Managing Director in 1998, when the industry
was in the throes of a recession. He achieved a dramatic turnaround
and set a new direction for the company; the secret for the turnaround
being foreknowledge and anticipatory measures. Refusing to succumb
to the gloom, Ashok Leyland concentrated on the much needed revamping
of its functioning in the areas of customer focus, customer satisfaction,
teamwork and unity of purpose. His strategy included shedding excess
flab, better inventory management, improved productivity and judicious
use of finances.
A Chartered Accountant by qualification, he joined Ashok Leyland
in 1976. He rose to the position of Executive Director (Finance)
in 1983 and was made the Deputy Managing Director in 1993.
A great believer in teamwork, he achieved synergy by forming cross-functional
teams. He accorded top priority to quality of products produced,
as well as quality of administration.
His achievements include, a past Chairmanship of the Confederation
of Indian Industry - Southern Region, a membership of the National
Council of the Confederation of Indian Industry for over a decade.
He is currently the Chairman of the National Committee
on Export and International Trade. He is also the Vice-President
of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).
He is the Director of several Public Limited Companies including
ICICI and a member of the Southern Regional Advisory Committee
of the Industrial Development Bank of India. He is also associated
with with many professional and Academic bodies such as Accounting
Standards Board, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Institute
for Financial Management and Research and the Academy for
Management Excellence. He has been an active member of the group
which made recommendations for framing policies in approaching WTO
other interests include music, which he learnt formally from masters
such as Valliyur Gurumoorthi, M.L.Vasanthakumari and Maharajapuram
Santhanam. A good speaker in both Tamil and English, he has
written short stories in Tamil under the pseudonym Vasumathi
Ramaswamy, which happens to be his mother's name. He is deeply
religious and a firm believer in universal peace and harmony.
The Rotary Club of Madras bestowed the For The Sake of
Honour Award on Seshasayee, the highest honour that the Rotary
Club bestows on any individual. In his acceptance speech, at this
awards ceremony, he said that he was indeed fortunate to receive
the award, but could think of countless other individuals who deserve
the award. "No individual can claim his achievements as
his own, no individual can stand alone". He also said that
if the poetry of his life were to be written, then you would have
to credit many other individuals who have shaped his life, the first
on the list being his parents.
Author : Anuradha Sriraman
Photographs : V Ganesan