Ex PepsiCo boss Varun Berry to join Britannia as chief opearting officer [India Business] [Times of India]
(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) NEW DELHI: Varun Berry, former CEO of PepsiCo Foods, is joining biscuit maker Britannia Industries as its chief operating officer, Britannia said in a press release on Monday.
Berry, who quit the American beverage and snacks firm in February last year, will be the second most senior official at the biscuit and cookie maker after MD and CEO Vinita Bali. Neeraj Chandra, vice-president and COO at Britannia, will now head strategy and new business development.
And Vinod Menon, who has been heading strategy and new business development, has been named VP and CFO. During an 18-year stint at PepsiCo, Berry held different roles in India, Asia and the Middle East across foods and beverages segments.
After quitting PepsiCo Berry turned an entrepreneur, joining hands with telecom services provider Vodafone's former chief commercial officer Sanjoy Mukherjee to float a health venture mid-last year.
"Now Mukherjee will be in charge of the venture as Berry returns to a corporate role," a person in direct knowledge of the developments said. Berry joins the Rs 5,485-crore (FY '12) Britannia at a time when the maker of Good Day and NutriChoice biscuits is dealing with slower growth, high food inflation and an increasing number of rivals, including relatively new entrants like Cadbury Kraft's Oreo, Glaxo SmithKline's Horlicks cookies and United Biscuits' McVities.
The Rs 13,500-crore biscuits segment has been growing at about 15% per year, and Britannia and Parle Products are neckand-neck in terms of market share. Berry exited PepsiCo barely a year after taking charge as the CEO of its foods division, in a move that had surprised industry watchers.
He had been leading PepsiCo's foray in the mass priced, low-cost traditional packaged snacks market under its Lehar brand, to stave off regional rivals including Balaji, Bikanervala and A-Top Foods.
Before taking charge of Pepsi-Co Foods, he was based in Dubai, heading International Dairy & Juice, PepsiCo's joint venture with Saudi Arabia based dairy company Almarai. An alumni of Punjab Engineering College and an MBA from Panjab University, Berry started his career at Brooke Bond India in 1986, where he worked as marketing manager for six years.
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