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Obituary

BMW India's President and CEO Rudratej Singh passes away at 46

Singh suffered a cardiac arrest that caused his demise. He had been with BMW Group India since 2019, and had over 25 years of cumulative work experience.

Rudratej ‘Rudy’ Singh, who was heading BMW India as President and CEO, passed away at 46; suffering a cardiac arrest that caused his demise. He had joined the company in 2019, and had over 25 years of work experience, in the automotive sector as well as in the FMCG industry.

Rudratej Singh
Rudratej Singh

Before taking the reins at BMW India, he had a stint at Royal Enfield that lasted a little over 4 years. At Royal Enfield, he was the company's global president and worked out of Gurgaon. Before joining Royal Enfield, he worked with Unilever - both in India and in international markets for over 16 years. He also had a short stint at Dabur India in the late 90s. Singh graduated from Delhi University with a Bachelor's degree in commerce and he held an MBA degree in Marketing and Finance from Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad.

Below is BMW Group India's statement on his passing.

BMW Group India, with profound sorrow, announces the demise of Rudratej Singh (46), President and Chief Executive Officer on 20 April 2020. The cause behind the sudden and unexpected demise is yet to be ascertained. Our prayers are with his family and loved ones during this difficult period. He will always be remembered as an inspiring and compassionate human being. Rudratej Singh joined BMW Group India on 1 August 2019. His transformational vision and strategic orientation played a crucial role in navigation of BMW Group India in a challenging business environment. His demise comes at a crucial junction when BMW Group India was in midst of implementing strategic measures for strengthening the dealer network across India.

In an interview with AutoX in December 2019, Singh said that working at Unilever gave him consumer insights in various cateogries. "Unilever isn’t just one company, it’s basically an organisation that manages many companies, in many categories. So, as I keep saying, from soup to soap and everything in between! The other thing I think, which is very important, whether its food or beverages, or soap, is that it’s all largely undifferentiated. Therefore, to seek differentiation, to get consumers to find you preferred over another brand, you work harder," he is quoted as saying, in the interview.

Singh pointed out that when it comes to the auto sector, customers are more involved and more likely to step into dedicated stores, which may not be the case with a FMCG product such as toothpaste. "Imagine a toothpaste store, as if that would ever happen..." he joked.

In the same inteview, he added that the tendency was to take consumers for granted and assume that they will transact; Singh admitted that they'd only engage with customers when a transaction was expected to take place. "I bring in the ability to serve the customer, whether in the bathroom, or the bedroom, or the drawing room or the kitchen, and earlier in a smaller garage, now a bigger garage (this was a reference to his previous position as CEO at Royal Enfield) – but, if you follow the consumer, you will always remain relevant," he said in this interview.

Earlier this year, as the world was grappling with the Coronavirus pandemic, BMW Group India announced that it will participate in setting up an isolation ward for COVID-19 patients at a government hospital near its Chennai plant. "The coronavirus pandemic presents a mammoth challenge to public health, industry, economy and business. Responsible action and sincere efforts are immensely crucial for minimising impact on human life, providing immediate relief to the underprivileged and reinforcing those engaged at the frontline of this crisis," said Singh, as reported by The New Indian Express on April 2020.