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Top role at GM India for former Holden engineer

Globetrotter: After rising through the ranks in Australia, Kaher Kazem has held top positions at GM in Thailand and Uzbekistan. He is now off to India.

Former Holden senior engineer Kaher Kazem named chief operating officer for GM India

9 Jul 2015

FORMER Holden engineer Kaher Kazem has been named chief operating officer for GM India, taking responsibility for the manufacturing side of the company’s business in the fast-growing market.

Mr Kazem officially starts on August 1, moving to GM’s Talegaon Dabhade plant south-east of Mumbai from his current role as president and managing director of GM Uzbekistan.

He has been in the top job at the former Soviet republic since 2012, having spent the previous three years as vice-president of manufacturing and quality for GM Thailand and the ASEAN region.

Prior to that Mr Kazem rose through the ranks at GM Holden in Australia, joining in 1995 as a senior engineer and taking on a number of key positions.

These included manufacturing engineering manager (general assembly, paint and plastics) at the company’s Elizabeth plant in South Australia.

He was later assigned to a special project as area manager of the southern body shop, supporting continuous improvement activities.

Mr Kazem’s new position is part of a broader management reshuffle as the American auto giant reaffirms its “long-term growth commitment to the Indian market”.

GM operates as the majority shareholder – with a 93 per cent stake – in a partnership with China’s SAIC (which holds the remaining seven per cent), and in market terms sits well behind the largest vehicle manufacturers in India: Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Tata Motors and Mahindra.

As well as the Talegaon plant, which has a production capacity of 165,000 cars a year, the company has a factory in Halol that can turn out 127,000 vehicles per annum. Talegaon also has an engine plant with an annual capacity of 160,000 units.

Last year, GM recorded just 64,115 sales in India. It did, however, strike an export deal with Chile last year and is now sending the Chevrolet Beat city car to South America from Talegaon (pictured on the dock at Mumbai below).

Other vehicles produced at Talegaon include the Chevy Spark and Sail, while Halol builds the Cruze, Enjoy, Tavera and Captiva.

Along with Mr Kazem, the other new appointments include of a new vice-president of sales – former VW Group executive Hardeep Singh Brar – and a vice-president of marketing and customer experience – Jack Uppal, who moves from a post assisting GM International president Stefan Jacoby.

All three will report directly to GM India president and managing director Arvind Saxena.

“The new appointments further strengthen our commitment to the Indian market to offer class-leading vehicles along with a truly satisfying ownership experience for our esteemed customers,” Mr Saxena said.

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