Top-level churn at the two cola giants continues. In an unexpected move, Ajit Yadav, Pepsi India's head (legal & regulatory affairs), has left.
He is tipped to be replaced by the company's erstwhile legal honcho Parvez Billimoria, who has been recalled after four years. What's seemingly a simple transition, has raised eyebrows considering the internal announcement came suddenly.
And that too, it coincided with the arrival of a senior PepsiCo honcho from the worldwide legal system. The local subsidiary's legal department works closely with PepsiCo's head office. Sources said Mr Yadav wanted to move on to start something on his own, but some read more into the exit.
They say, Mr Yadav may have been eased out because of frequent changes in Pepsi's legal team in the past few months. Pepsi's spokesperson was unavailable for comment.
This may well be a one-of-a-kind affair. Yet, the past six months have been an HR nightmare for both cola majors, given the exits at the top. Coca-Cola India has lost over a dozen executives of GM rank and above, including two honchos - north India head Amit Jain and franchisee head Jaspal Singh.
This doesn't count for manager level departures. Coke's finance department has witnessed churn, and sources say, the company is having a tough time filling the vacancies.
Pepsi's also had its share of challenges. Ever since Lloyd Mathias, PepsiCo's executive VP, left in July '05, there have been a spate of resignations at all levels. Subroto Chattopadhyay, ED, & head of non-carb business as well as financial controller Anup Tawakly followed soon after.
Around this time, heavyweights like Anand Sahay (VP) and the two GMs - Amitabh Bose and Kiran Balram - also logged out. Analysts blame the churn on frequent changes in strategy and leadership.