Mumbai: Harish Bhat, managing director of Tata Global Beverages Ltd and the chairman of Tata Coffee Ltd, will join Tata Sons Ltd as member—group executive council (GEC), reporting to the chairman, Cyrus P. Mistry, from 1 April.

Bhat is an alumnus of BITS Pilani and IIM Ahmedabad, graduating top of his class in both and winning the IIM Ahmedabad Gold Medal for Scholastic Excellence.

He joined the Tata group in 1987, as an officer in the Tata Administrative Service (TAS). In April 2013, four months after taking over the reins at the Tata Group, Mistry formed the GEC to take the 145-year-old conglomerate to its next level of growth. It includes Tata Sons executives and provide strategic and operational support to Mistry.

Members of the GEC include N.S. Rajan, who will lead the strategic function of human resources; Mukund Govind Rajan, who will oversee brand, communication, ethics and corporate social responsibilities, Nirmalya Kumar, professor of marketing at the London Business School, and Madhu Kannan, who will head business development and public affairs.

“Bhat brings rich business experience and will be an invaluable addition to the GEC. The GEC provides strategic and operational support to the chairman of Tata Sons with the mandate to own and drive the delivery of the core purpose of Tata Sons, which is long-term value creation for all stakeholders," Tata Sons said. “The GEC also works closely with and partners the Boards, CEOs and senior management of the various Tata companies," it said.

In a related development, Tata Global Beverages’ board of directors named Ajoy Misra, presently deputy chief executive officer (CEO) and executive director, as CEO and managing director effective 1 April, in place of Bhat.

Misra is a veteran at Tata Sons with over 30 years of experience in the company. Prior to joining Tata Global Beverages, he was with the Taj Group of Hotels as the head of global marketing and sales, area director and general manager of various regions and properties of the Taj.

The tea major made the announcement along with its earnings for the December quarter where it reported a consolidated profit increase by 49% to 119.55 crore—up from 80.26 crore in the year-ago period. The net profit increase was on the back of good performance in some key markets, coupled with favourable foreign exchange translation impact, the company said in a press statement.

Total income from operations increased to 2,080.75 crore from 1,911.43 crore, up 9%.

The appointment of Misra as the managing director will be subject to all required statutory approvals and approval of members of Tata Global Beverages, said the company in a press statement late evening on Wednesday. Misra will, with immediate effect, function as “Managing Director Designate", until he formally takes over as managing director, the company said.

The change at the tea major comes at a time when the consumer packaged goods sector in India is witnessing slow growth due to tough macro economic environment, sluggish economic growth and high inflation.

In the past year, over half a dozen consumer packaged goods companies, such as Britannia Industries Ltd, Hindustan Unilever Ltd and Nestle India Ltd, have had top management changes.

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