Marc Llistosella appointed as CEO and MD of Tata Motors


Tata Motors appoints Marc Llistosella as the new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director. This will be effective from 1st July, 2021. His predecessor was Guenter Butschek whose five year term will be completed by the end of February. Butschek, the former Airbus executive, had been working from Austria since the COVID-19 induced lockdown began, is moving to Germany for personal reasons.

Kickboxing and Karate are well versed in the skills of patience, communication and perseverance. Marc Llistosella, well-trained in both, extracts inspiration from these two ancient martial art forms in his work, too. An example is when he convinced his Daimler bosses in Stuttgart, Germany, to stay invested in India if they ever wished to become a sizable player in the world’s second-largest truck and bus market, where four out of every five vehicles sold were made by either Tata Motors or Ashok Leyland.

An automotive expert, Llistosella received his education in economics, marketing and sales from the University of Cologne (Germany). He is presently on the board of Swedish transport company Einride, specializing in electric and self-driving vehicles.

Llistosella was the brainchild behind the launch of Daimler’s seventh global auto brand, BharatBenz. He had been fighting against Tata Motors when he headed Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) for six years.

Before this, he was associated with Daimler Trucks since a long time. He was President and CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp from 2015-2018. He was also the head of Daimler Trucks Asia.

He is the second senior appointment at Tata Motors (after Thierry Bollore, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover) under the chairmanship of N Chandrsekaran who is also the chairman of Tata Sons.
“I am delighted to become a part of the unique Tata family. Having been bonded to India for so many years, a new exciting chapter is now opened. We would jointly awaken the potential of Tata Motors,” his brief press statement said.
At Fuso, he guided over 15,000 employees and monitored the production of 170,000 vehicles a year, locking in annual revenues of over $7 billion, until 2018.
Besides the launch of the new brand, under Llistosella, Daimler oversaw the establishment of a research and development (R&D) unit along with a truck and bus manufacturing unit near Chennai for a total investment of Rs 4,400 crore. DICV launched its highly localised trucks in India in 2012, two years before Llistosella called it quits, but not before he launched the BharatBenz brand in India. By end of 2014, DICV had unfolded as the third-largest CV company in the segments it was present in – the medium and heavy-duty segments – with a share of 5 percent.
While Tata Motors’ passenger vehicle (PV) division has been performing well since the past six months with dealers running out of stocks and buyers being made to wait for up to eight weeks, the CV division that required Llistosella’s immediate attention.
Tata Motors’ CV sales during April 2020-January 2021 slumped 38% to 189,195 units, in comparison to the same period a year ago. The CV division is twice more profitable for Tata Motors than its PV division. Even after a 79% rise in revenues during the quarter ended 31st December to Rs 5,000 crore, the PV division reported an EBITDA of only 3.8%. On the other hand, the CV division posted revenues of Rs 9,600 crore with a surge of 21% but a superior EBITDA of 8%.
Llistosella’s aim will be to halt any further decline in CV market share. From 45% in FY19, Tata Motors’ market share in the CV segment in Q3FY21 was at 38.9%, which is recorded as the lowest in at least five years. Mahindra & Mahindra, VE Commercial Vehicles and DICV have eroded away at Tata Motors’ share over the years.

Like all CV players, Tata Motors is also hoping to benefit from the vehicle scrappage scheme introduced by the government in the Budget for 2021. This could produce financial incentives to owners of CVs aged more than 15 years, persuading them to go for a replacement. The fret much lesser for the PV division, which is being hived off to house an appropriate long-term partner.