In yet another high profile appointment, Reliance Industries is set to take Unilever Nigeria chief Gunender Kapur on board as the CEO of its foods and grocery division.
Kapur, who was earlier executive director of the foods business of Hindustan Lever before shifting to Nigeria, met RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani last week, sources close to the development said.
A BITS Pilani alumni, Kapur was instrumental in Hindustan Lever’s acquisition of Modern Foods for over Rs 100 crore six years ago. He was transferred to Unilever’s Nigerian operations towards the end of 2004.
RIL has already appointed former Electrolux CEO Rajeev Karwal as the head of its consumer durables division.
According to sources, the retail business of RIL will have as many as 25 high profile CEOs and over 150 middle rung professionals. The company is expected to pay nearly Rs 100-crore in salaries for the retail division alone in the first year of operations.
RIL will also recruit merchandising and jewellery retail professionals from Dubai, Bahrain and Muscat. The plan is to set up 775 huge retail stores in five years.
RIL had announced that it would launch a subsidiary to run the retail business a fortnight ago. It also announced that the RIL board approved the setting up of hypermarkets, convenience stores and super markets across the country with an initial capital investment of Rs 3,375 crore.
The sources said that RIL had drawn an ambitious diversification plan in the first half of last financial year to set up a mega retail chain, tentatively names Reliance Home.
The first of these retail complexes is expected to start in Gujarat in the next few months.
The retail chain could be on the pattern of big names in the US such as Walmart and the company is already talking to several state governments for setting up world-class retail stores. .
Manoj Modi, a close associate of Ambani , is understood to be working on the project.