INDIA— Britannia Industries, India’s largest bakery firm, has brought in Rajneet Kohli as CEO and executive director, and has elevated Managing Director, Varun Berry to Executive Vice-Chairman

Kohli has served in numerous senior leadership roles during his 25-year-long career in Asian Paints and Coca-Cola, and joins Britannia from food services company Jubilant FoodWorks. Under his leadership, Jubilant FoodWorks, has delivered sustained profitable growth and emerged as the largest QSR chain in the country with over 1600 stores.

Kohli will report to Berry who has run the company since 2013, and still retains the MD position.  Berry said in a stock-exchange filing Kohli’s “experience of building high-performance businesses and profitable brands is strongly aligned to our vision of becoming a responsible global total foods company”.

He added: “Rajneet’s proven track record of scaling up businesses and building highly engaged teams makes him a perfect fit for the organisation”.

Britannia Industries’ portfolio features biscuits, bread and cakes, along with dairy products. The company supplies the domestic market and 80 destinations worldwide in North America, Europe, Africa, south-east Asia and the Middle East. Brands include Good Day, Tiger, NutriChoice, Milk Bikis, Marie Gold and Little Hearts.

Kohli’s appointment comes at a time when the industry is grappling with margin concerns amid soaring inflation.

While first-quarter revenues increased 9% to INR37.6bn (US$460.5m), net profit fell 13% to INR3.3bn. Announcing the figures in August, Berry said inflated input costs hit profits, with wheat prices up as much as 15% in the quarter and fuel 20%.

“While we actioned necessary price increases to cover this, the full impact of price correction should reflect in the ensuing quarter,” he added. “[A] further drop in prices of some of the commodities like palm oil and crude, along with our intensified cost efficiency programme, should help sustain and improve profitability in the coming quarters.”

Profit in the previous full fiscal year was down 9% at INR16bn based on revenue of INR137.3m, which rose 8.4% over the corresponding period.

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