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FMCG firm Marico Ltd has appointed Pankaj Saluja as chief of strategy, M&A and new business, according to a press release. His appointment will be effective from October 5, 2015.

In this role, he will lead the strategy and growth agenda through new business opportunities and will report to Saugata Gupta, MD and CEO of Marico.

Saluja, who has almost two decades of experience across consulting and FMCG space, joined Marico from Bain & Company where he was partner at its Southeast Asia (SEA) office and head of Bain’s consumer products and retail and healthcare practices. He has also worked at Bain’s India offices where he was a part of the office startup leadership team since 2006.

Pankaj Saluja

Prior to joining Bain, Saluja was working with Accenture and Coca-Cola where he handled sales operations in Delhi.

“Pankaj brings great value to this role through his past consulting and industry expertise across consumer goods sectors. Pankaj’s knowledge and proficiency will be an invaluable asset and complement our efforts to grow and deliver an even stronger performance for our sustainable profitable growth journey," said Saugata Gupta.

Saluja obtained a Mechanical Engineering degree from University of Delhi and did an MBA from Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Lucknow.

Founded in 1988, Mumbai-based Marico makes and sells edible oil, coconut and other hair oils as well as hair, fabric and baby care products, processed foods and soaps.

Marico last sealed an M&A deal back in 2012 when it acquired the personal care business of Paras Pharmaceutical Ltd from Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc for Rs 746 crore. Marico had previously pursued FMCG and consumer health products maker Paras Pharma for a bigger buyout but Reckitt Benckiser had clinched that deal and had later put the non-core assets of Pras Pharma on the block.

Since then, Marico did not make any acquisition, according to VCCEdge, the data research platform of VCCircle. The new appointment could mean it may now aggressively pursue an inorganic growth strategy.

Indeed, its peer group firms have been active in snapping rivals in both India and abroad to bolster their product basket.

Recently, Godrej Consumer Products acquired the remaining 40 per cent stake in Chilean hair colour cosmetics company Cosmetica Nacional; Emami signed a pact with entrepreneur Sanjeev Juneja to acquire his hair and scalp care business under the brand Kesh King and Future Consumer Enterprise Ltd (FCEL) signed an agreement with diversified Aditya Birla Group firm Grasim Industries Ltd to acquire its consumer products division.

Last year, Marico management shuffle with promoter and chairman and managing director Harsh Mariwala stepping down as managing director of the firm, passing the baton to then chief executive Saugata Gupta.

At the same time, Marico’s CFO Milind Sarwate had resigned from the firm to pursue other opportunities. 

Marico had also attracted PE funding from Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and Baring Private Equity Partners India. GIC recently exited from Marico.

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