16 January, 2018 | The Economic TimesShare
First woman CEO at AB Group faces a challenge with tough competition in fashion
Mumbai: Pantaloons Fashion Retail has appointed Sangeeta Pendurkar, former managing director at Kellogg India, as its chief executive.Pendurkar is the first woman CEO at the $41-billion Aditya Birla Group in its 160 years history.
Pantaloons Fashion Retail, a unit of Aditya Birla Fashion Retail Ltd, looks to refresh its branding and marketing strategy in the face of unabated competition from cash-rich online marketplaces and offline value fashion retailers.
Pendurkar had in June last year quit as managing director, India &; South Asia, at multinational food manufacturing company Kellogg. Earlier she also held senior management roles at Coca-Cola India and HSBC Bank.“She had the right experience in consumer facing businesses like banking, food, FMCG," said Santrupt Misra, director, group HR, at Aditya Birla Group.
Pendurkar''s appointment comes at a time when fashion clothing space is getting increasingly crowded with discount-heavy ecommerce players as well as international retailers such as Swedish firm H&;M that entered the country in 2015.So, she has a tough challenge to deal with.
"In the last couple of years, Pantaloons brand is not too visible in the market," an industry insider said on condition of anonymity. "The fact that they have hired Pendurkar shows that that they are reinventing their brand and strategy. It is her core strength. A very interesting hire, I must say," the person said.
Pantaloons'' previous CEO, Shital Mehta had quit in September last year to join Landmark Group as CEO of Max Fashions, another value retailer.
Pendurkar has three decades of marketing, sales &; general management experience, spanning across sectors of packaged foods, beverages, financial services, personal products and pharmaceuticals.
She will report to Ashish Dikshit, managing director at Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail.
Group HR head Misra said Pendurkar will focus on growth and profitability of Pantaloons to strengthen its position as a leading value fashion retailer. She will work on building the brand and its strong online presence, provide finest customer service and keep track of customer taste and preferences, he said.