The first regional chief to be recruited from outside PepsiCo since Rajeev Bakshi, who led the firm from 2001 to 2006, Shivakumar will be responsible the strategic deployment of PepsiCo’s Rs33,000cr (US$5.4bn) investment in the country, which the company announced barely a month ago.
Shivakumar, an IIT-Chennai-qualified engineer and MBA from IIM-Calcutta, will oversee all aspects of PepsiCo's India business, which includes food and beverage brands such as Pepsi, Frito Lay's potato chips, Slice mango beverage, Kurkure snacks, Tropicana juices and Quaker oats.
He will also oversee the business of NourishCo, a joint-venture with Tata Global Beverage, and franchise businesses in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
Shivakumar has worked across several consumer interfacing businesses and spent 14 years at Hindustan Unilever Ltd, he expanded the Lipton tea brand, eight years at Nokia and three years at Philips Consumer Electronics India, during which time he doubled the company’s revenue.
PepsiCo’s global chairman and chief executive Indra Nooyi said in a statement: “Shiv is one of India’s most respected business leaders. He has a proven ability to take billion-dollar businesses to the next level by maximising innovation, execution and collaboration.”
Analysts in India have praised the move by the company to seek outside talent, suggesting that a fresh perspective will be needed as the company locks in on its expansion plans.
PepsiCo has so far invested US$2bn in India since it entered the market in 1989, and the new release of funds will be allocated by 2020 in a bid to double its production capability and develop infrastructure across a number of strategic areas, including innovation, manufacturing, infrastructure and agriculture.
Last month Nooyi explained of the investment: "India is a country with huge potential and it remains an attractive high-priority market for PepsiCo. We believe we have only scratched the surface of long-term growth opportunities that exist for PepsiCo and our partners.”
Nooyi also hinted that the company would expand into India’s rural markets, as it seeks to boost selling and delivery infrastructure throughout the country. It currently has three factories and 38 bottling plants in India.
In a parallel move, Gautham Mukkavilli, the current general manager of PepsiCo India’s beverages unit, has been promoted to senior vice-president for business transformation for the Asia, Middle East and Africa region from March next year.
In his new role, Mukkavilli will oversee a range of strategic initiatives in both food and beverages across the sizeable region. Both Shivakumar and Mukkavilli will report directly to Sanjeev Chadha, chief executive at PepsiCo AMEA.