Poaching is on a high among auto makers in the country, despite a slowdown in the sector due to rising cost of finance and sluggish sales.
Global auto companies are either entering India, or expanding their operations here, fuelling demand for high-ranking executives. In the last six months, almost a dozen high and medium level officials at several companies have jumped ships.
Leading the pack, German automaker Volkswagen recently staged a coup, luring away KK Swamy from Toyota Kirloskar Motors Ltd, where he had spent over a decade. Swamy, who was a deputy managing director, has brought with two more senior officials from Toyota — K Takewala, head of quality control, and Kalyan Kumar, head of regional sales.
Meanwhile, Toyota has hired old hand Sandeep Singh from construction group JCB India, as Swamy's successor.
The trend is not limited to car companies. In the two wheeler segment, TVS Motor lost two high-ranking officials within a year. Its marketing head, Prasad Narsimhan, left the company last year to join Virgin Mobile, while senior vice-president R Chandramouli quit to join Reva Electric Car Company. The latter had spent 19 years at TVS.
Some companies are considering initiating talks with rivals for non-poaching deals. When employees move within the industry, there is a high risk of transfer of confidential information, said an HR executive at Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, who did not want to be named.
With clusters and plants close to each other, it is natural for employees to look for opportunities but a mutual understanding with rival companies to resist from poaching could be beneficial for everybody in such cases, he said.