ITC Makes More Man­age­ment Changes

Per­sonal care head Sandeep Kaul to look af­ter cig­a­rettes biz, ex-Marico exec Sameer Sat­pa­thy to suc­ceed him

The Economic Times - - Business Of Brands - Wri­tankar.Mukher­jee @times­group.com

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

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