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143 Socio-economic variables for strategic decisions
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Mahendran, 57, with GCPL since 1994, following the acquisition of Transelektra Domestic Products, had indicated he wished to step down once his current term expired. A chartered accountant, he took over as managing director in June 2010, succeeding Dalip Sehgal. Earlier, he was managing director of joint venture company Godrej Sara Lee, which accounts for brands such as Good Knight, Ambipur, Brylcreem and Kiwi.
Mahendran was instrumental in helping GCPL acquire 51 per cent stake in Sara Lee in May 2010 and in divesting the latter's brands soon after. He single-handedly drove the company's Good Knight franchise through much of the 90s and the following decade. GCPL has said after his retirement, Mahendran would continue to be a board member.
To ensure the smooth transition of responsibilities, Mahendran and Gambhir would work closely for the next eight months, GCPL said. "Over the last 18 years, Mahendran has provided tremendous leadership to the group in different roles. As managing director of GCPL, he successfully guided the company through the merger with Godrej Sara Lee, and our internationalisation strategy," said Chairman Adi Godrej.
For 43-year-old Gambhir, the elevation to managing director comes after only three years at GCPL. During this period, he led the company's acquisition strategy into international markets, among other initiatives. An MBA from Harvard Business School in the US, earlier, Gambhir was partner at Bain & Company, working at the company's Boston, Singapore and New Delhi offices. He was a founding member of Bain's consulting operations in India and led the firm's fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) practice in India.
In a statement, Gambhir said he was excited about leading GCPL in his new role.
"I look forward to working closely with Mahendran and the GCPL team over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition," he said.
Currently, 32-35 per cent of the Rs 4,866-crore GCPL's revenue comes from international markets. Under Gambhir, the group has focused on three key categories - personal wash or soaps, hair care and household insecticides - in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
In the last few years, the company has carried out ten acquisitions and has said it is interested in more, especially in Asia and Africa.
However, integrating these acquisitions with the company would be a challenge for Gambhir. The company has failed to exploit its international portfolio by introducing a few products into India. Analysts say Gambhir would have to look at harnessing synergies in a better manner and consider bringing a few key products into India.Major stories over the last 30 days