Chairman emeritus of Hero MotoCorp, Brijmohan Lall Munjal, passed away in New Delhi’s Max hospital on Sunday. Munjal is survived by his wife Santosh and children Suman Kant, Pawan Kant and Sunil Kant.
“With profound grief and deep sadness, we regret to inform that the visionary founder of the diversified Hero Group, Dr Brijmohan Lall Munjal, passed away here today at 7.05 pm. He was 92,” Hero MotoCorp said in a statement.
Munjal stepped down from active role in Hero MotoCorp earlier in June this year. He remained on the board of the company as non-executive member, his son Pawan Kant was elevated to the position of chairman at the time.
Born in 1923 in un-partitioned Punjab, BM Munjal along with his three brothers — OP Munjal, Dayanand Munjal and Satyanand Munjal — started a bicycle spare parts business in Amritsar in 1944. Munjal eventually went on to establish the world’s single largest motorcycle manufacturing firm Hero MotoCorp. Munjal led the Hero Group to a number of firsts. Hero MotoCorp is the world’s largest two-wheeler company now for the 14th year in a row. Another group firm, Hero Cycles, has been the largest manufacturer of bicycles since 1986.
Munjal led the Hero group to form a joint venture – Hero Honda — with Japan’s Honda in 1984. The partnership ended in 2011.
Munjal was among the earliest Indian industrialists to effectively implement the Just-in-Time (JIT) initiative in the automobile industry here. He focussed on current asset management, which helped evolve vendor efficiency and zero-inventory management practices at Hero.
One of the key reasons for success of Hero MotoCorp, industry insiders say is Munjal’s strong inter-personal relations with his firm’s vendors and dealers. His relationship with them was such that they enjoyed the comfort to reach out directly to Munjal on any issue rather than approaching the concerned department. Company executives say Munjal knows almost every dealer by his first name.
Beside Hero Group, Munjal held leadership positions in many national associations such as CII, SIAM, AICMA and PHD and had served as a member of the Regional Board of the Reserve Bank of India. He was conferred with the Padma Bhushan in 2005 in recognition of his contribution to the industry.
Munjal helped establish numerous medical, educational and infrastructure facilities. Amongst his notable contributions to Ludhiana are the Ludhiana Stock Exchange, the Ludhiana Aviation Club, Ludhiana Management Association and the Dayanand Medical College & Hospital, of which he was the Chairman Emeritus, after being its President for over three decades.