After remaining at the helm for 48 years, Mahindra & Mahindra Chairman Keshub Mahindra will step down Aug 8, making way for his nephew, Anand Mahindra, to head the $15.4 billion conglomerate.

"Keshub Mahindra, Chairman of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., advised the board of his intention to retire from the Board at the conclusion of the forthcoming Annual General Body Meeting scheduled on August 8, 2012.

"The Board reluctantly acceded to the Chairman's desire but requested him to accept the position of Chairman Emeritus, emphasizing that the Company required his advice and counsel," a group statement said Wednesday.

Anand Mahindra, 57, the present M&M vice-chairman and managing director, will thus be chairman and managing director of the company from Aug 8 and Keshub Mahindra, 88, the chairman emeritus.

"I am deeply touched by this gesture of the board... It is gratifying to be able to hand over to the next generation at a time when the company's performance is at its best," Keshub Mahindra said.

Keshub Mahindra had joined the board in 1948 and was elected chairman in 1963. During his tenure, the Mahindra Group grew from a manufacturer of automobiles to a federation of companies operating in a range of businesses which includes automobiles, tractors, auto components, IT, real estate, financial services and hospitality.

He expressed confidence that Anand Mahindra would retain and strengthen the values and principles that the Mahindras have stood for in the last six decades, and the group will continue to grow its leadership position across its various businesses.

Anand Mahindra described his uncle as "a role model for business leaders who built an organisation that cares and is known for its ethics and social responsibility".

Over the decades, Keshub Mahindra created successful business alliances with global majors like Willys Corporation, Mitsubishi, International Harvester, United Technologies, British Telecom and others, laying the foundation for the emergence of an Indian multinational corporation.

The group has a presence in over a 100 countries.

Keshub Mahindra has also served on various boards in both private and public domain, including HUDCO, SAIL, and Indian Hotels.