Top Vini execs brought in after KKR deal walk out
Vini Cosmetics, backed by KKR, has seen several top-level exits, including CEO Vishal Kaul and CMO Sushrut Pant. The company's founder and non-executive chairman Darshan Patel confirmed the resignations and stated that replacements are being sought.
New Delhi/Mumbai Vini Cosmetics, the maker of Fogg deodorants and GlamUp creams backed by private equity firm KKR, has seen a flurry of top-level exits in the recent past, even as the company’s founder-chairman Darshan Patel remains unfazed. ACCording to several people aware of the developments, CEO Vishal Kaul, human resource head Manisha Kadagathur, and chief revenue officer Amar Jethithor have tendered their resignations. Chief marketing officer Sushrut Pant, who joined Vini this March, quit in November and joined Shree Cement as head of marketing, according to his LinkedIn profile. Darshan Patel, non-executive chairman of Vini Cosmetics, confirmed the CEO’s exit. “He has put in his papers. We have already started looking for a replacement," said Patel, who founded the company in 2010. “Our business is growing at about 15–18%per annum. We are not downsizing anything." Patel also appeared confident about KKR, saying it continues to be invested in Vini. “They have just entered the business. They will be invested for many years," he said. Calls made and texts sent to Kaul, Kadagathur, and Jethithor remained unanswered, while Pant could not be reached for comment. KKR, which bought a 54% stake in Vini Cosmetics for $625 million in 2021, did not respond to emailed queries. Several mid-level employees are on their way out, too. Zonal sales director for East India, Devi Prasad Raul, quit in October after a year with the company, and moved to Nigeria with DP World, per his LinkedIn profile. And national trade marketing manager Umesh Kumar, as well as go-to-market head Viraj Kamboj are also on their way out, according to the people mentioned above. The development comes amid differences between the professional management that was brought in over the past two years, and the company’s original promoters Darshan and his brother Dipam Patel. Several executives Mint spoke with cited differences between their working styles, with the company’s strategy and operations largely aligning with the way promoters wish to run the company. After KKR’s investment, several senior executives from the consumer goods industry were tapped by the company to bring about professional management in the day-to-day operations. For instance, Kaul, who was appointed CEO in February 2022, joined the company from PepsiCo India where he was vice-president and business head for the beverages business for India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan. Pant, who was hired in March 2023, came from ACC & Ambuja Cement, and had long stints at Kimberly-Clark and Marico earlier. Vini manufactures, markets and distributes its branded deodorants, cosmetics and toiletries through its flagship brand Fogg and other brands such as Ossum and GlamUp. Fogg is among the top-selling deodorant brands in the country. Others in the know said high-ranking executives were brought in to manage day-to-day operations at the company. However, the transition and handover are yet to be completed. “There was a certain management control which was supposed to happen after the KKR deal. And that’s when they got in a lot of professional managers such as the CMO, CFO, CHRO, and CRO. Some good work and transformation happened. The transition was supposed to happen to this professional team…but that isn’t happening, and that’s why people started leaving," said a person familiar with the development who asked not to be identified. In the fiscal year 2021-22, Vini Cosmetics Pvt. Ltd’s consolidated revenue from operations stood at ₹926.39 crore. Profit for the period was ₹191.25 crore, up 16.6% year-on-year, according to financial intelligence platform Tofler.