ITC Makes More Management Changes
Personal care head Sandeep Kaul to look after cigarettes biz, ex-Marico exec Sameer Satpathy to succeed him
Kolkata: ITC has recast its senior management team, continuing the trend of appointing younger executives in critical roles ahead of chairman YC Deveshwar’s proposed retirement next year.
The conglomerate, which has businesses spanning cigarettes, fastmoving consumer goods (FMCG) and hospitality, has appointed Sandeep Kaul, 49, as chief executive of the cigarette business. This comes at a time when sales have been hit by recurrent price increases triggered by tax hikes, and production remains suspended due to ambiguity on larger-sized pictorial warnings of health hazards on cigarette packs.
Kaul replaces Hemant Malik, 49, who will now head FMCG trade marketing and distribution and has been entrusted with the task of expanding the retail reach of the entire FMCG portfolio. ITC is betting big on the FMCG business as it seeks to de-risk itself from its dependence on cigarettes.
Sameer Satpathy, 43, has succeeded Kaul as chief executive of the personal care business. Satpathy joined ITC in December from Marico and is the first lateral hire to head a major business. All the three executives will report to ITC’s president, FMCG business, B Sumant, who has now become part of the corporate management committee — the highest decisionmaking body in the firm. An ITC spokesperson confirmed the appointments. Kaul, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, has played several key roles in the company. These include sales and marketing of cigarettes, being part of the team that incubate the newer FMCG businesses and taking charge of the personal care business from its inception.
He also led the recent acquisition of Johnson & Johnson’s Savlon brand and building the body spray segment into the second-largest in India for ITC’s personal care business.
“Kaul is amongst the emerging ex- ecutives to look out for at ITC, since only the most trusted hard hitters are made in charge of the cigarette business,” a senior analyst said. “The cigarette business has also been one of the stepping stones for next-level senior appointments at ITC, which makes his ascension all the more important, considering he has taken charge at a very critical juncture.”
A senior executive at a leading retail chain said that Satpathy may hire more talent from the FMCG industry as ITC has ambitions to become India’s largest firm in the space, overtaking Hindustan Unilever.
ITC has made several leadership changes in the past six months with two executive directors, Kurush Grant and PV Dhobale, announcing their retirement.
The conglomerate had also appointed Sanjiv Puri, 52, as an executive director overseeing more than 80% of the business and is now considered one of the favourites to succeed Deveshwar. Subsequently, Sumant was made head of FMCG. In hotels, chief operating officer Dipak Haksar, 58, was made chief executive, while vicepresident, operations, Ranvir Bhandari, 55, succeeded Haksar.
ITC is betting big on the FMCG space as it seeks to de-risk its dependence on cigarettes business hit by low sales, tough policy environment