Samsung India country head for mobile phones and digital imaging Vineet Taneja has put in his papers, marking the exit of one of the two Indian executives at the top deck of the Korean giant in India, according to three industry executives aware of the development.
While the exit of Taneja has been trending in the industry for the past two months, the executives quoted above confirmed that he has indeed put in his papers this week. He is, however, yet to decide on his next job with several offers in hand, including one from a top Indian handset maker.
Despite repeated attempts, Taneja can’t be reached for comments. In response to an email, a Samsung India spokesperson said: “Samsung does not comment on rumour or speculation.”
Taneja has been leading Samsung’s charge in the Indian mobile phone industry for more than a year, a feat which the Korean giant has established under the leadership of Samsung India and South West Asia president & CEO BD Park in the last two years. The other Indian executive at the top deck is Ravinder Zutshi, deputy managing director of Samsung India, a company veteran.
Despite Samsung maintaining its market share and lead in the Indian mobile phone market, the Indian arm has been under pressure of late for losing some growth momentum, and due to lower sales of its hi-end devices such as the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S4, which is way below the company’s expectations.
A senior trade partner of Samsung India said this was one of the reasons behind Taneja’s exit, with the headquarters not accepting the fact that the Indian mobile phone market has indeed slowed down.
“There’s huge pressure on Vineet to continue with 30-40% growth rate despite the market growth rate slowing down,” said the trade partner. In 2013, Samsung India posted revenue of Rs 38,000 crore, up 40% over previous year, driven largely by its mobile phone business.
Another executive mentioned above said Taneja was also unhappy with the management changes which Samsung India brought about early this year, which made him report to SK Kim who was made the managing director (sales) of the company. Earlier, Taneja was reporting directly to BD Park.
As per market tracker CyberMedia Research, Samsung leads the Indian smartphone market with 38.9% volume market share in the January-March quarter, followed by Micromax at 19.1%, Karbonn at 6.9%, Lava at 6.1 per cent and Nokia at 5.3%.
Taneja had joined Samsung from Bharti Airtel where he was the operations director for South India and Sri Lanka. Prior to this, he was the chief marketing officer at Nokia India and had a long stint with Hindustan Unilever. He is an engineering graduate from IIT Roorkee and an MBA from IIM Calcutta.