Krishnakumar Thirumalai, known as ‘KK’ among beverage industry veterans, will be president of the India and South West Asia business unit of Coca-Cola from Monday.
His elevation follows the sudden exit of Venkatesh Kini, handing the portfolio since 2014. KK, in his mid-50s, is currently the chief executive officer and South West Asia regional director of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCB), the bottling arm of Coke for the region. After joining Coca-Cola in 2004 as a regional manager for eastern India, he moved up to the position of chief operating officer of HCCB in three years, before taking up his current charge in June 2009.
His professional career began in the mid-1980s, after he completed his master’s degree in 1983 from the Indian Institute of Management at Bengaluru, with marketing and finance as majors. KK graduated with an engineering degree from Madras University in 1981.
Says James Murphy, president, Asia Pacific Group, The Coca-Cola Company: “He is a strategic, well-rounded leader, and has been a catalyst for expanding our portfolio and driving growth in every position he has previously held.”
KK has a tough task, with a growing trend of consumers moving away from carbonated drinks and subdued volume growth for Coke in India.