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Hindustan Unilever appoints Arun Neelakantan as executive director, customer development

He will be taking over from Kedar Lele, who will be pursuing an external opportunity.

Hindustan Unilever (HUL), announced a key change to its management committee. Arun Neelakantan (43), chief digital officer, HUL will be appointed as executive director, customer development, HUL effective July 1, 2024. He will be taking over from Kedar Lele, who will be pursuing an external opportunity.

Arun Neelakantan started his career with HUL as key account manager in Modern Trade in 2006 after completing his Bachelor’s Degree from IIT Madras, Master’s from Penn State University, followed by an MBA from Indian School of Business (ISB). Arun has a proven track record of performance at HUL and has led large teams and change agenda in customer development and marketing, across general trade, modern trade, customer marketing and brand building. In his role as regional manager, leading the company’s largest branch in Chennai, Arun was able to deliver market-beating growth consistently.

Under his leadership, the South region went on to launch several initiatives for customer development in India, backed by deep consumer insights and execution excellence in the market. He has played a key role in accelerating HUL’s digital transformation programme across consumer, customer and operations ecosystems and has strengthened data and digital capabilities for category and eCommerce teams.

Welcoming Arun to his new role, Rohit Jawa, CEO and managing director, HUL said, “Arun has a proven track record in various roles across the organisation. With his deep understanding of the customer development landscape in the country, coupled with his knowledge of channels of the future and expertise in data and technology, I am sure he will help take HUL Customer Development and Sales to greater heights.”

Rohit also thanked Kedar for his contribution to the business and said, “It was Kedar who spearheaded HUL’s foray into eCommerce. Under his leadership, our pioneering eB2B app Shikhar was scaled up and it now covers over a million retailers across the country. I would like to thank him for the lasting contributions he has made to HUL over his 20-year long journey with us.”

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