Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Leader in the spotlight: Saugata Gupta

Gupta has been with Marico since January 2004, and has over 20 years of experience, primarily in the consumer goods sector

Who: Saugata Gupta, managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of Marico Ltd.

Why: On 25 March, Marico, the maker of Saffola and Parachute oils, appointed Gupta as MD in addition to his role as CEO. Gupta took on the role of MD on 1 April from Harsh Mariwala, who will continue as chairman of the group. The changes are, however, subject to approval by shareholders.

Background: The management rejig is part of Marico’s transition and was a planned progression. The company told the bourses that the announcement reflects the next phase of its growth. Under Gupta, Marico has had a track record of sustainable profitable growth. It has had a five-year annual compounded growth rate of 19% in profit and revenue. Needless to say, any firm would want to elevate experienced management from within the organization, especially during tough times.

Experience: Gupta has been with Marico since January 2004, when he joined as head of marketing, and in 2007 was elevated as CEO of the India business. In 2013, Marico restructured its consumer products business in India and overseas under a unified structure, with Gupta heading it. Mariwala’s role will be more of an influencer while Gupta will be calling the shots and getting things done. Gupta has over 20 years of experience, primarily in the consumer goods sector.

Challenge: The management reshuffle comes at a time when the consumer goods sector is going through a tough period—growth has been muted as consumers cut back on small discretionary spending on personal care products and packaged goods in the face of slower economic growth. The critical challenge for Gupta will be to help Marico ride through the slowdown and get the declining volume growth trajectory back on track. By Zahra Khan