Global luggage products maker Samsonite International SA has elevated Ramesh Tainwala as the chief executive officer, just six months after Tainwala took over as its chief operating officer in March this year, as per a statement.

Tainwala will take over the responsibilities from Tim Parker, currently chairman and chief executive officer, who will assume the role of non-executive chairman of the Hong Kong-listed group. The appointment will come into effect from October 1, 2014.

Parker said: “Ramesh has proved himself more than capable of leading our business. In my role as non-executive chairman, I will work closely with Ramesh as I direct my efforts to managing Samsonite’s strategic relationships with our key stakeholders and guiding the group’s overall strategy."

“I look forward to the next phase of our collaboration as we continue to leverage the opportunities we have for new product and brand initiatives across our business worldwide. We have a clear strategy for our business and are confident in the sustainability of our overall growth in the future,” said Tainwala.

Before joining Samsonite in 1995, Tainwala was an entrepreneur in the plastic processing and consumer goods industries in India. Tainwala Group - his family enterprise - has a 40:60 joint venture with Samsonite called Samsonite South Asia to run the Indian business of the American firm.

Meanwhile, Samsonite International posted an increase of 24.6 per cent in net sales in India, almost twice the 13.8 per cent growth it reported globally which took its overall sales to $1.1 billion for the first half year period ended June 30, 2014. India revenues in the first half were $63.6 million, making it the third-biggest country in Asia behind China and South Korea.

Samsonite International sells product under brands such as Samsonite, American Tourister, Hartmann, High Sierra, Gregory, Speck and Lipault. Its mother brand generates around two-thirds of its revenues.

The India luggage market, dominated by the unorganised segment, is growing at a rapid pace with VIP being the market leader. Samsonite is the second-largest player with a strong market share followed by Safari, a distant third. Safari and VIP are both public listed firms.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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