Coca-Cola India president and chief executive officer Sanjiv Gupta’s role and responsibilities have been elevated. In his new role, which became effective from January 1, Mr Gupta, who was named president of the India division in July 2003, will now oversee operations of three more countries — Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal — in the South East Asia region.
This comes at a time even as Coca-Cola in India has been under the harsh spotlight on a number of issues ranging from allegedly high pesticide content in soft drinks to alleged sexual harassment charges against a senior manager. The season has also seen the company’s sales volume growth hitting various roadblocks.
While confirming his elevation to the new role, Mr Gupta told FE, “the idea is to have better synergies on the manufacturing and marketing front.”
The operations of these three countries, which were so far being managed by a regional manger based in Bangkok, are currently being integrated into the India division, according to Mr Gupta.
The East & South Asia Group forms part of the Asia Group and includes countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia, Greater China, India, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and is headed by Patrick T Siewart, president, East & South Asia Group. Earlier, in September 2003, Coca-Cola India marketing head Shripad Nadkarni was given the additional responsibility of heading the marketing activities for a cluster of Asian countries, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and rural China.
Meanwhile, Coca-Cola Asia president and chief operating officer Mary Minnick is visiting Kolkata next week to review operations and growth agenda for 2004, set by the Indian team at a meet in Goa last week. Based in Atlanta, Ms Minnick, oversees operations in 38 countries throughout Asia, including Japan, India and China and tiny Pacific nations. The Asia Group accounts for 33 per cent of The Coca-Cola Company’s operating income.