PepsiCo India CEO Shivakumar quits

Nearly four years after joining PepsiCo India as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, D Shivakumar, 57, has called it quits. The company announced on Monday that Shivakumar would be leaving PepsiCo India on December 31.

Leading the company at a time when the Rs 14,000-crore domestic soft-drink market was reeling under a slowdown, Shivakumar, who is called Shiv, would join Aditya Birla group as head, corporate strategy and business development. This is effective January 2018, it is reliably learnt.

Aditya Birla group has already internally announced Shivakumar’s appointment, persons in the know said. He would report directly to group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla.

Sanjeev Chadha, chief executive officer of Asia, Middle East and North Africa (AMENA) sector, PepsiCo, said that Ahmed El Sheikh, senior vice-president and general manager for the company’s Egypt & Jordan regions, would replace Shivakumar as CEO of the India business, effective November 1.

Joining PepsiCo India as its second outsider CEO after Rajiv Bakshi (who led the company between 2001 and 2006), Shivakumar was instrumental in helping the firm focus its attention on its non-carbonated beverage and snacks businesses, as consumers rapidly switched to healthier food and beverage options.

An IIT-IIM alumnus, Shivakumar, who has over three decades of experience behind him at firms such as Hindustan Unilever, Philips and Nokia, also concentrated on implementing PepsiCo Chairman Indra Nooyi’s vision of cutting sugar and salt in products as part of her ‘Performance with Purpose’ roadmap.

PepsiCo’s Chadha said Shivakumar was a key driver of portfolio transformation developing the firm’s nutrition business, and launching innovations under Quaker Oats and Tropicana. 

Shivakumar also took tough decisions such as exiting the Indian Premier League title sponsorship in 2015, two years before the contract expired. At Aditya Birla he is expected to look at all verticals of the group from metals to retail and telecom, guiding it on overall business strategy. The position would see him relocate to Mumbai from Gurugram, near Delhi, where he is currently based.

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