Hina Nagarajan will succeed Anand Kripalu as United Spirits’ managing director and chief executive officer with effect from July 1, 2021, the largest liquor firm in the country said on Thursday.
She would be the first woman to run USL, owned by Diageo Plc, the British spirits and beer manufacturer.
“Anand Kripalu will step down effective June 30, 2021, after nearly eight years at USL and seven years as managing director and CEO, to pursue the next phase of his career,” the company said in a press release.
“Anand’s successor will be appointed by Hina Nagarajan, currently managing director, Africa regional markets, and will also join the Diageo executive committee on July 1, 2021.” In April next year, she will join USL as CEO-designate, it said.
She will move to USL’s Bengaluru headquarters and work closely with Kripalu to ensure that the transition is smooth.
Since 2018, Nagarajan has led Diageo’s African activities, including Ghana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, the Indian Ocean, and Angola.
She spent nearly 30 years in consumer packaged goods firms before joining Diageo and held senior marketing and general management positions at Reckitt Benckiser (RB), Nestlé India and Mary Kay India.
Before joining Diageo, her last job was as managing director for China and SVP North Asia with RB.
USL, which offers brands such as Black Dog and White Mischief and focuses on brands such as McDowell’s No 1, Royal Challenge, Johnnie Walker and Vat 69, as well as prestige and above
USL also thanked Anand Kripalu, in a statement, for his contribution to the company. Kripalu led the transformation and development of USL during his tenure, with substantial improvement in operating performance-margin growth, working capital and cash generation, the company said.
He led the full integration of USL following Diageo’s acquisition of USL in 2013. A strong advocate for the contribution of India’s alcohol industry, he has built trustworthy industry-wide relationships, driving local community initiatives and collaborations, while continuously fostering responsible drinking. He has promoted inclusion and diversity around the business, known for his restlessness and creative spirit, as well as his dedication to coaching and growing talent, the company said.