Santosh Iyer has been named managing director and CEO for German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz India, becoming the first Indian at the helm its 27-year history and, at 46, among the youngest.
Effective January 1, Iyer will replace current MD and CEO Martin Schwenk, who will become president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Thailand, reports ETAuto.com.
ETAuto.com noted that with Iyer’s appointment, all three German luxury carmakers – BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz – will have Indians in the top role. Vikram Pawah is CEO and president BMW India, and Balbir Singh Dhillon is the head of Audi India.
Joining the Mercedes-Benz India in 2009 as vice president, Iyer’s tenure included several leadership positions in sales, communications, marketing, retail, customer services and corporate affairs. He assumed his most recent position as head of sales and marketing in 2019.
Iyer played a “pivotal role in curating industry benchmarks, customer service initiatives and in driving the objective of the brand being the ‘Mercedes of Service’ through service differentiation in the luxury segment,” according to ETAuto.com.
His previous career experience includes stints at Toyota Kirloskar and Ford Motor India. Iyer holds a degree in business management from the University of Indianapolis.