Former Coca-Cola veteran T Krishnakumar moves to RIL

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on September 24, 2021

T Krishnakumar   -  Businessline

While details about Krishnakumar’s role could not be ascertained beyond that he will be based in Bengaluru

Former Coca-Cola head honcho T Krishnakumar is learnt to have begun his new stint at Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Group. Krishnakumar joins RIL at a time when it is taking giant strides in the retail and grocery sector, especially in the e-commerce space with JioMart.

While details about Krishnakumar’s role could not be ascertained, beyond that he will be based in Bengaluru, sources said Ambani may be looking to make a big play in the packaged food and beverages segment and a separate unit for this business could be in the works with a strong focus on inorganic growth strategy.

E-mailed queries sent by BusinessLine to RIL did not evoke a response.

In January, Krishnakumar was elevated to the role of the Chairman of Coca-Cola India as part of the beverage major’s strategic global re-organisation. Popularly called KK, he quit Coca-Cola this March.

Krishnakumar, joined Coca-Cola in 2004 and held various senior roles during his nearly-17-year stint, including as the President, India and South West Asia.

He also served as the Chief Executive Officer and South West Asia Regional Director of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCB).

Under his leadership, India became the fifth largest market by volume for the beverage major. The company dialled up its fruit circular economy initiative, increased local sourcing to launch fruit-based beverages and took home-grown brand Thums-Up to neighbouring markets such as Bangladesh.

Most importantly, Coke made a strategic divestment of its company-owned bottling operations in North India to existing franchise bottling partners. HCCB, the company’s bottling arm, continues to run bottling operations in other regions in the country.

In the past, there had been speculation that Coca-Cola could look at other partners for divesting its bottling operations in other regions.

However, in March, the company said it was happy with its current franchise arrangements in India, its growth plans and the current Coca-Cola business system and that it did not have any developments or changes to share.

Published on September 23, 2021

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