Thales India: Former Airbus executive Ashish Saraf has joined Thales India as its new country director at a time when the French defence technology giant is expanding its operations in the country by leveraging Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bid to make India self-reliant in defence sector.
Saraf, a defence industry veteran, joins Thales from another French defence and aviation giant Airbus where he was President and Head of Region for Airbus Helicopters for India and South Asia. He succeeds Emmanuel de Roquefeuil, a well-known name in India’s defence circles.
Roquefeuil has been appointed Vice President and head for Thales in the Middle East region.
“In this role, Ashish will lead the company’s India business and will be responsible for the strategic growth of Thales in the country across all of its markets, further strengthening local teams, collaborations and innovation,” Thales said in a statement issued on Monday.
The French defence major said Ashish Saraf would lead the company’s business in India and take forward its commitment to support the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ vision of the government
Prior to joining Thales, Ashish served as the President and Head of Region for Airbus Helicopters – India and South Asia where he led sales and services, training and innovation, industrial partnerships and government relations across the civil and defence markets in South Asia.
During his two decades long career, Ashish also headed Tata–Sikorsky joint venture in Hyderabad and also worked with Deloitte Consulting and Dassault Systemes, mainly in the United States and Europe.
“I am pleased to welcome on board Ashish Saraf to the Thales Group, who joins us in extremely challenging COVID situation,” said Pascale Sourisse, Senior Executive Vice-President of Thales.
Sourisse said under Saraf’s leadership, Thales will continue its decades-long partnership with Indian stakeholders to support the country in this time of need.
She said once the pandemic was behind us, Ashish would contribute to India’s longer-term vision of building an ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (a self-reliant India) in defence sector.
Saraf, who is a mechanical engineering graduate from Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology, expressed the company’s solidarity in India’s battle against the Covid-19 global pandemic.
“We stand united with our employees, their families, our customers and the people at large, and look forward to overcoming this pandemic together,” Ashish said in his message after joining the company.
Ashish Saraf holds degrees in Management and Engineering from University of London, Cornell University, and Symbiosis Institute of Business Management and NIT in India.
He has also served as a Board of Director and Member of the Governing Council for Aviation and Aerospace Sector Skill Council (AASSC), a Governmental body dedicated to developing nationwide skills in the Aerospace domain in India.
The French defence and high technology giant is active in the country since 1953. Over 1,800 employees are working with Thales and its joint ventures in India.
The company has two engineering competence centres in India – one in Delhi NCR focused on digital identity and security business, and the second one located in India’s IT capital Bengaluru focuses on hardware, software and systems engineering capabilities for both civil and defence sectors.