The board of directors of Magna International Inc., Aurora, Ontario, Canada, has appointed Seetarama (Swamy) Kotagiri, its current president, as Chief Executive Officer, effective from January 1, 2021. He succeeds Don Walker, who served as CEO from 1994–2001, and from 2005 to the present, and will retire at the end of 2020.
Kotagiri has more than twenty-five years of automotive industry experience and has served twenty-one of those years at Magna. In his previous role as Magna’s Chief Technology Officer, he reportedly helped strengthen the company’s culture of innovation by forming partnerships in areas including autonomy, electrification, electronics and connectivity.
Kotagiri was responsible for managing the company’s innovation and new product strategy and development both at a corporate level and in conjunction with Magna’s product groups. In his role as CTO, he also served in various leadership positions including president of Magna Electronics, Powertrain and Power and Vision segments.
“Given Swamy’s role in aligning the company’s strategy with the megatrends impacting new mobility and the ‘car of the future,’ he is the right leader to take Magna forward,” stated William L Young, chairman of Magna’s board of directors. “Swamy has a strong command of the business, sound judgment, and is a strategic thinker who can drive disciplined execution.”
“I would also like to commend Don for his success and thank him for his dedicated service,” he added. “Under his strong leadership, Magna has grown to be the third-largest global automotive supplier, one of Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies, and a perennial winner of customer, industry and technology awards.”
Don Walker stated, “Leading Magna and working with all our great employees has been a tremendous honour, and I am extremely proud of everything we have accomplished together. In addition to Swamy’s strong technical and operational strengths, he has played an integral role in advancing the company’s position in the changing mobility landscape and encouraging a start-up mindset to solve problems with solutions from outside our industry. I am confident in Swamy’s future-focused approach and leadership to move Magna forward into the next decade and beyond.”
Swamy Kotagiri commented, “Building on Magna’s industry leadership is very important to me. It starts with our people, who are among the most talented in the business. We will leverage the company’s decentralised, entrepreneurial culture, which empowers every member of the Magna family to act as an owner and think as if they were part of a startup.”
“With the next transformation in mobility upon us, Magna can build on its current position of strength, derived from leading capabilities across key areas of the vehicle, financial stability and strong leadership,” he continued. “The evolution of the mobility ecosystem presents a range of opportunities directly related to Magna’s strengths. I look forward to leading our team and working with all of our stakeholders as we seek to create sustainable value from those opportunities.”