The board of India’s Sundram Fasteners Limited has promoted Arathi Krishna, the daughter of Sundram Fasteners Chairman Suresh Krishna, as the new managing director, effective April 20.
Per multiple media accounts, Arathi, age 49, earned her way to the top, working for two-and-a-half decades for the company. One of three daughters, she is the only one who joined the family’s fastener business.
A gold medalist in economics, Arathi holds an MBA from the University of Michigan Business School. After on-the-job training in automotive-related business in the U.S., she started her career in 1990, at age 20, as a management trainee at Sundram Fasteners. She became the company’s manager for business strategy and systems in 1993, and general manager in 1998. “I had an easy transition into the company and was easily accepted by employees,” she said in an interview.
An article by K.T. Jagannathan in The Hindu praised Arathi for her management style. She used to go to the shop floor, interact with employees and try to understand technologies, in a company that had a record of never losing a day’s work because of labor issues, according to observers of the company. “Known to be media-shy, soft-spoken but result-oriented and tough when it comes to work, Arathi has acquired wide managerial and business administration skills through her experience in India and abroad. It was under her leadership that the company forayed in sectors like aviation and wind energy.”
Krishna was first appointed to the company’s board in 2006 as managing director (designated as executive director), and later in 2011 re-appointed as managing director (designated as joint managing director), the story said. The company’s consistent growth during the past decade has come with her, along with other family members, at the helm of affairs. She has her expertise in corporate strategy and general management, and under her leadership several new product lines have been set up and stabilized at the company, leading to a robust growth and operating performance.
Arathi was also instrumental in making the workforce at Sundram Fasteners younger, and the work culture more performance-based and technology-oriented. The average employee age at the company is 35 years.