From selling soaps and ice cream at Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Kedar Lele will start selling automotive and industrial lubricants as the new Managing Director of Castrol Ltd from November onwards. 

But this shift in sector is not new for Lele who has had over two decades of experience across advertising, Internet companies, FMCG marketing and sales & customer Development. 

Lele began his career in 1998 with a role in advertising after a two-year stint at MICA in a marketing communications programme. Over the next five years until 2003, he worked in the advertising and internet sector with stints at, Bplinnovision / and Mudra Communications Ltd. In 2004, he joined Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), where he worked in Sales & Marketing roles across Delhi and Mumbai for the company’s ice cream business. In 2017, he moved to Unilever Bangladesh as the Chairman & Managing Director.  In 2021, Lele moved back to India to serve on HUL’s Management Committee as Executive Director for Sales & Customer Development and EVP South Asia for Customer Development, based in Mumbai

“Kedar represents diversity in a conventional business. His choice in education and career demonstrates adaptability, curiosity, insight and relationship management,” states his Linkedin profile. 

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An alumnus of the Indian School of Business, Lele majored in Strategic Marketing and Operations Management, topped the Marketing stream and was featured on the Dean’s list. A former batchmate at MICA Ahmedabad remembers Lele’s passion for photography. “He’s easygoing and charming and very good with people,” he recalls.

Lele’s appointment at Castrol comes at a time when the company is riding on record revenues. Castrol registered revenue from operations of ₹5,075 crore in FY23, recording a strong growth of 6 per cent over ₹4,774 crore in the year ended 31 December 2022. 

According to a former employees at HUL, Lele is very passionate about driving sustainability and diversity in business. “His mantra is to solve a problem in pursuit of doing good. Lele initiated a number of programmes in HUL towards this goal,” said a former colleague.

“I was truly impressed with his simplicity, cheerful and humble nature and excellent thought leadership. It was a great privilege as well as an opportunity to learn a lot from him. He is a great leader and true visionary with excellent people skills who challenges people to do their best and at the same time with his simple yet effective ideas and impressive style, inspires teams to realise their full potential,” said another former employee who worked with Lele in 2012.