Neeraj Garg appointed new CEO of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on October 11, 2020

Slew of changes at Coca-Cola India, South West Asia operations, too

Beverage major Coca-Cola has made key changes in the leadership team of its India and South West Asia operations including at its Indian bottling arm, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd, as part of a global restructuring plan.

It has appointed Neeraj Garg as the new Chief Executive Officer of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCB) effective January 1. Garg succeeds Christina Ruggiero. Garg is currently the President of the West Africa Business Unit of the beverage major.

Ruggiero, the first women CEO of HCCB, will be ending her three-year stint at the company and take on a new leadership role. She has been appointed as the President of Central Operations, North America Operating Unit, the Coca-Cola Company.

In an e-mailed response to queries from BusinessLine, Marcelo Boffi, President, Bottling Investments Group, The Coca-Cola Company, said, “Christina has helped build a solid foundation for HCCB as one of the premier FMCG organisations in the country. Neeraj takes over from here, coming in with extensive FMCG experience. Since Neeraj has worked across global markets, HCCB will find his insights and expertise extremely useful in unlocking the next phase of growth for HCCB in India.”

With this development, from January 1, new leaders will be at the helm of Coca-Cola India, the South West Asia operating unit and HCCB. In September, the beverage major had stated that Sanket Ray will be taking over as the new President of Coca-Cola India and South West Asia operating unit. T Krishnakumar will take over the role of the Chairman of Coca-Cola India Inc on January 1.

On Saturday, the beverage major announced many changes in the senior leadership team that will report to Ray. Arnab Roy, global brand head for Coca-Cola (Trademark) has been appointed as the Vice-President-Marketing at Coca-Cola India and South West Asia, succeeding Vijay Parsuraman, who will be taking on a global assignment.

Sundeep Bajoria, who is currently Vice President, South West Asia Operations, will lead the franchise operations of India. Reetima Rakyan will be leading the franchise operations of South West Asia.

Meanwhile, Enrique Ackermann, who is currently Technical Operations Director at the company’s Latin Centre Business Unit, will now lead technical and innovation functions at Coca Cola India and South West Asia.

Strategic re-organisation

In addition, Greishma Singh, Director-Strategy & Insights at Coca-Cola South Pacific, will be heading to India to lead the customer and commercial leadership functions. Samarapperuma Padmal and Amit Tibrewal will be leading the strategy and business transformation functions, respectively.

In August, the beverage major had announced its strategic global re-organisation exercise, under which it decided to merge 17 business units to set up nine new operating units. Post this announcement, it has initiated a “voluntary separation programme” for eligible employees in various markets including India.

Beverage companies in the country have been severely impacted due to muted out-of-home channel sales, courtesy the pandemic. In addition, the Covid-induced national lockdown coincided with the key summer season, which contributes a significant chunk to beverage companies’ annual revenues.

Published on October 10, 2020

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