Procter & Gamble India's managing director Shantanu Khosla is quiting the consumer products major with effect from June 30. He will be succeeded by Al Rajwani, a US citizen of Indian origin and currently P&G's vice president for Arabian Peninsula and P
Procter & Gamble India's managing director Shantanu Khosla is quiting the consumer products major with effect from June 30. He will be succeeded by Al Rajwani, a US citizen of Indian origin and currently P&G's vice president for Arabian Peninsula and Pakistan, the company said.
Khosla, who has been spearheading P&G in India for 13 years now, is stepping down at a time when the world's largest consumer goods company is struggling to hold on to its market shares across categories due to intense competition and its internal focus on profitability.
"Khosla will most likely start a new company in the area of marketing and consulting," said an industry official who requested not to be named. Last year, Procter & Gamble had merged India, the Middle East and Africa into one IMEA region as part of a significant reorganisation to remove management layers and improve the execution of strategy in a tough consumer market and a rising cost environment.
"Since the last one year, the company synergised its operations with that of Middle East with the help of Rajwani," said the industry official. In his 30 years at the firm Khosla an IIT Bombay and IIM Kolkata alumnus led several business units around the globe. He took over the leadership of India operations in June 2002 and since then, P&G's revenues have multiplied about six times at roughly Rs 9,000 crore across three companies.
"He is an exceptional, sharp and clear headed person," said advertising veteran Arvind Sharma who has known Khosla since his management trainee days at Richardson. "But his best attribute is that he is great with people," added the former chairman of Leo Burnett that handled some P&G brands' advertising.
Khosla's exit comes at a time when P&G has lost market share in over two-thirds of its business, a struggle reminiscent of its parent company that has now put over 100 brands on the block to focus on core business. In India, it ceded ground in products ranging from detergents, skin creams and shampoos to disposable razors and sanitary napkins during 2014-15.
Experts said this resulted from P&G's lack of innovation and focus on higher margins while rivals adopted aggressive strategies to increase market share.
"Procter & Gamble's global strategy has been oscillating between long term growth plan for India and short term gains. Since China is a much bigger market, India has mostly been sidelined except for few years last decade when they realised the potential of being in a market with 1.2 billion consumers," said Amin Babwani, an independent consultant who has spent three decades with Hindustan Unilever
Live: People Reading Now