Varun Berry to take over as Britannia CEO; Vinita Bali stepping down

Food products maker Britannia Industries has elevated COO Varun Berry as chief executive. He will take over the baton from Vinita Bali, whose term expires at the end of this month, as per a stock market disclosure.

Bali joined Britannia in January 2005, a couple of years after Sunil Alagh was sacked by the firm over alleged misuse of the company’s money for personal purposes. When she joined the company had revenues of around Rs 1,600 crore while the firm ended FY13 with sales of Rs 6,136 crore.

During her tenure, the Wadias had locked horns with their foreign partner Danone, which led to the end of their more-than-a-decade-old partnership.

She will exit the company to pursue other roles in the corporate and development sectors, as per a press statement. Bali will, however, continue as a board member of other Wadia group firms Bombay Dyeing, Go Airlines and Bombay Burmah. She would also remain associated with Britannia Nutrition Foundation.

Bali will hand over the baton to Varun Berry, who was roped in from PepsiCo last year as COO and made an executive director. After his induction, Berry was handling domestic operations, which comprised bulk of the business, while Bali looked after the international business.

This comes amid management reshuffle at many FMCG firms. Last year PepsiCo named former Nokia exec D Shivakumar as its India head; Hindustan Unilever brought in Sanjeev Mehta as CEO; Coca-Cola elevated Venkatesh Kini; and most recently Marico named Saugata Gupta as its MD as promoter Harsh Mariwala stepped down, while retaining the chairmanship.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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