Canadian auto parts maker Magna International is replacing their CEO. They announced that their current president, Seetarama Kotagiri, is taking over as the company’s Chief Executive Officer, effective January 2021.
Kotagiri, a 21-year veteran of the company, succeeds Don Walker, who will retire at end of 2020. He has held the top job at Magna for 15 years. The Ontario-based company forecast 2020 sales between $30 billion and $32 billion in August, above analysts’ estimates. They are set to report third-quarter results on November 6.
Walker had two stints as CEO of Magna. The first was between 1994 and 2001, and again starting in 2005 up until now. He retires after a 33-year career at Magna. He previously served in various leadership roles, including Vice-President of Product Development and Engineering, Chief Operating Officer, and President.
For his part, Kotagiri, the incoming CEO, has more than 25 years of automotive industry experience, 21 of which have been with Magna. In his previous role as Magna’s Chief Technology Officer, the company further strengthened its culture of innovation by forming partnerships in areas including autonomy, electrification, electronics, and connectivity.
While CTO, Kotagir also served in various leadership positions including President of Magna Electronics, Magna Powertrain, and the company’s Power and Vision segment. Early in his Magna career, he held various engineering and operating positions at Cosma International, a Magna operating unit.
Kotagiri holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University, with a specialization in materials and structural engineering.