CHENNAI : K. Mahesh (75), Chairman of Sundaram Brake Linings Ltd, a part of the $8.5 billion TVS Group, died in Chennai on Saturday.

He was ailing for sometime.

Mahesh headed the group's brake linings project since beginning. Initially it was a joint venture with Abex Corporation, a US company. The US company exited the project later.

Mahesh as Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) insisted on quality systems and saw to it that Sundaram Brake Linings followed that.

In 2001, the company became the first manufacturer of friction material for brake lining and clutch facings and won the prestigious Deming award from the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers.

"He was the first in the industry to make asbestos-free brake linings," V.R. Janardhanam, former Chief Operating Officer of Sundaram Brake Linings, told IANS.

"Mahesh was always focused on exports. In those times companies exported only when the domestic market was not doing well. But he would say that 50 per cent of the turnover should come from exports. Exports should not be a time pass," Janardhanam said.

"Mahesh was worker friendly. When there was a proposal to provide cycles to workers, he saw to it that the best brand cycles were given to them," Janardhanam said.

Mahesh earned B.Tech degree in metallurgy from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

Mahesh is survived by wife, two daughters and one son. His son, Krishna Mahesh is Managing Director of Sundaram Brake Linings.

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