Titan board picks Venkataraman as successor to current MD Bhaskar Bhat

  • CK Venkataraman will take over on 1 October
  • Jewellery is the company’s biggest revenue earner

BENGALURU : Watches and accessories maker Titan Co Ltd on Friday said its board has decided on a successor for its current managing director, Bhaskar Bhat. Jewellery business head, CK Venkataraman, will take over the reins from Bhat, who reaches retirement age on 30 September 2019.

The company also reported a 45.97% jump in net profit and a 35.35% growth in revenue during the third quarter, mainly due to a strong festive season that boosted demand for all its product categories, led by jewellery.

Venkataraman will take over on 1 October and the formal process to induct him into the board will be completed in due time, subject to shareholders’ approval, the company said in a filing with the BSE.

Bhat told Mint in an interview that the board was weighing both external and internal candidates for the post. However, management consultants had said last month the company’s primary instinct was to choose someone internally. And when it came to internal candidates, consultants had listed Venkataraman and Ravi Kant, its watches business head, as those who had an edge.

Jewellery is the company’s biggest revenue earner and Venkataraman has been with Titan since 1990 and worked in the advertising and marketing functions before taking over as his current role in January 2005. But Bhat has been at the helm of the Tata Group company for more than 16 years. It will take some time to get used to imagining a Titan without Bhat, ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala who holds a stake in Titan alluded on the company’s results conference call, held Friday evening.

Apart from Bhat, at least five other top executives are due to hit retirement age over the next few years. But the company said it has been working to build a strong leadership base over the past three years.

“We’ve had this process on for the last three years and we’ve had leadership programs at different levels – young leaders, emerging leaders, senior and top management development. We have a very strong pool of successors whom we can choose from. Wherever we feel that there is a gap we have not hesitated to look outside as well," Titan’s human resource head Raj Narayan said on the call.

Titan’s consolidated net profit grew to Rs411.09 crore during the October-December quarter of 2018-19 from Rs281.61 crore during the same period last year. Total revenue increased to Rs5,934.11 crore from Rs4,384.40 crore on a year-ago basis, the company reported in a filing with the BSE on Friday.

Jewellery, sold mainly under its Tanishq brand, accounted for around 84% of the company’s overall revenue during the quarter. “The festive quarter of 2018-19 turned out to be one of the best quarters for jewellery as well as for other businesses - watches and eyewear," Bhat said in a statement.

Revenue from the jewellery business grew 36.95% to Rs4,997.03 crore, while profits from the division (before finance costs and taxes) increased 76.51% to Rs646.58 crore. Jewellery aside, revenue from other segments also grew in the high double-digits, with watches and eyewear clocking growth rates of 18.16% and 39.68% respectively.

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