Mumbai: Tata Starbucks Pvt Ltd announced on Wednesday Navin Gurnaney as its new chief executive officer, beginning 1 January. Gurnaney will be replacing current CEO, Sumitro Ghosh, who returns to the US for a role within the Starbucks organisation after a three-year stint in India.

Gurnaney will be third chief executive to helm the 50/50 joint venture between Tata Global Beverages Ltd and Starbucks Coffee Company, which entered India in October 2012.

Starbucks has on an average been opening 25 stores each year since its launch with an exception in 2015-16, when it opened less than a dozen stores. Ghosh who took over from Avni Davda, the first CEO, was brought in from the US to accelerate the company’s growth in India.

In the last two years under Ghosh’s leadership the coffee chain has doubled its footfalls to 250,000 consumers visit per week. Moreover, in 2017-18, for the first time since inception, the company posted an operating profit.

Gurnaney comes in at a time when the company has once again stepped up its expansion plans. In 2017-18, the company grew by 28%, driven by better in-store performance, coupled with new stores added during the year. In the previous financial year the JV opened 25 stores and will exceed that number in 2018-19, Veetika Deoras head -- marketing, category, digital and loyalty at Tata Starbucks India, told Mint earlier this week.

Gurnaney, who has been with Starbucks since 2004, will come to India from Atlanta, Georgia. He would be responsible for driving Tata Starbucks’ overall strategic direction and vision in India and further strengthening Starbucks business growth, the company said in a press statement.

“We are pleased to welcome Navin Gurnaney, who has a proven track record of success within Starbucks and is a business leader with the ability to bring people together, as Tata Starbucks continues to innovate and position itself for long-term growth in the India market," said John Culver, group president, International, Channel Development and Global Coffee & Tea at Starbucks Coffee Company.

“Navin is the right person to build on the momentum we are seeing in the market," said Ajoy Misra, managing director and CEO, Tata Global Beverages.

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