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BW Businessworld

Britannia Rejigs Operations

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Think Britannia and bakery and dairy come to mind, strictly in that order. But promoter Nusli Wadia wants to change that perception and turn the company into an “all-embracing foods company”.

On 27 May evening, the company announced key organisational changes with the intent of aggressively scaling up its international operations and at the same time increase its scale of operations and market share in the Indian market. In the last few years, competition in the Indian market has increased manifold both from multinationals like Cadbury, Unibic and local players like ITC and market leader Parle, an erstwhile volume player that’s been steadily moving up the price ladder with its premium offerings.

Under the restructuring exercise, Britannia’s present MD Vinita Bali will focus on international and new business growth to expand Britannia to adjacent categories and new business opportunities. The company’s COO Varun Berry, who came on board from PepsiCo recently, will lead the India operations.

Varun Berry
Berry, a PepsiCo veteran of more than two decades is the second consecutive executive with a global beverages background to take charge at Britannia. His predecessor Bali served with The Coca-Cola company in various countries before leading the corporate strategy function at the beverage giant’s headquarters.

Berry began his professional life in the mid-1980s with Brooke Bond India, a company that was subsequently merged with the operations of Hindustan Unilever. He rapidly moved up the corporate ladder with PepsiCo, a stint of more than two decades that saw him manage the beverage giant’s operations in Vietnam, Philippines and the UAE before coming back to India in 2010 to take charge as CEO for the non-beverages business of PepsiCo and steering the fortunes of snack brands like Lays and Kurkure among others in 2010.

Britannia chairman Nusli Wadia said in a company statement: “We are preparing Britannia for high growth in Britannia’s India operations by catering to the changing food habits of the evolving Indian consumer and pursuing opportunities for growth in the overall food domain, here and abroad.”

Bali added that “The new structure will help Britannia grow faster in India while it also focuses on growth in the international markets and addresses new business opportunities for the company.”