Britannia Industries, India’s largest bakery firm, has brought in Rajneet Kohli as CEO, effective from today (26 September).

Kohli was named chief executive on Friday and joins the publicly-listed business from Jubilant FoodWorks, the Domino’s Pizza franchise operator in India. Concurrently, managing director Varun Berry has been appointed as vice chairman, having run the company since 2013, but retains the MD position.

Press reports in India suggested the CEO role is a newly-created seat, a point Just Food has approached Britannia Industries to clarify.

The new CEO, whose previous career takes in PepsiCo and Unilever, reports to Berry and will also hold an executive director seat at Britannia Industries, which has seen profits continue to decline in the opening three months of its financial year to 30 June.

Berry said in a stock-exchange filing Kohli’s “experience of building high-performance businesses and profitable brands is strongly aligned to our vision of becoming a responsible global total foods company”.

He added: “Rajneet’s proven track record of scaling up businesses and building highly engaged teams makes him a perfect fit for the organisation”.

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By GlobalData

Britannia Industries’ portfolio features biscuits, bread and cakes, along with dairy products. The company supplies the domestic market and 80 destinations worldwide in North America, Europe, Africa, south-east Asia and the Middle East. Brands include Good Day, Tiger, NutriChoice, Milk Bikis, Marie Gold and Little Hearts.

While first-quarter revenues increased 9% to INR37.6bn (US$460.5m), net profit fell 13% to INR3.3bn.

Announcing the figures in August, Berry said inflated input costs hit profits, with wheat prices up as much as 15% in the quarter and fuel 20%.

“While we actioned necessary price increases to cover this, the full impact of price correction should reflect in the ensuing quarter,” he added. “[A] further drop in prices of some of the commodities like palm oil and crude, along with our intensified cost efficiency programme, should help sustain and improve profitability in the coming quarters.”

Profit in the previous full fiscal year was down 9% at INR16bn based on revenue of INR137.3m, which rose 8.4% over the corresponding period.