Mahindra names Prakash Wakankar as CEO of retail arm

Diversified business conglomerate Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd has appointed Prakash Wakankar as new chief executive officer for its retail arm Mahindra Retail Limited, according to a news report by Mint citing Mahindra Retail chairman Zhooben Bhiwandiwala.

Wakankar is presently working with Mahindra group’s private equity arm Mahindra Partners and will replace current CEO of Mahindra Retail K Venkataraman, who will take on a role at Mahindra Partners.

Previously, Wakankar worked as CEO of confectionery maker Perfetti Van Melle’s Indian business and also headed Mahindra Holidays and Resorts in a brief stint more than a decade ago. 

Mahindra Retail, which was started in 2009 and houses specialty retail venture Mom & Me, is now planning to franchise its outlets instead of opening new stores to cut cost and focus on boosting sales via selling products online, Bhiwandiwala told the paper.

Earlier this month, Mahindra group’s CMD Anand Mahindra told CNBC TV18 the group is looking at small steps to build its presence in the online retail market.

In the online world, it runs, an auto information guide as a spin-off of its used car business Mahindra First Choice besides other channels for selling products of its offline retail ventures such as Mom & Me and toy store Beanstalk.

The Indian e-commerce market is witnessing tight competition from global giants like Amazon, as well as home-grown players including Flipkart and Snapdeal.

Earlier this month, Tata Sons’ former chief Ratan Tata said he is interested in e-commerce as a sector after reports said he is looking to invest in Snapdeal.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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