ITC Ltd, India’s most valued consumer products maker, has appointed Hemant Malik as the new chief executive for its packaged foods business which includes cigarettes. He will be replacing VL Rajesh who is the chief executive of the packaged foods business at ITC. VL Rajesh has stepped down to take a year-long sabbatical. This transition comes at a critical juncture for ITC whose food business has escalated and is the primary growth driver as cigarette business is still reeling under pressure.
An alumnus of IIM-Calcutta, Malik was so far heading the company’s trade marketing and distribution unit. He took charge of this unit in April this year after handling the tobacco business of the diversified conglomerate. He has 24 years of experience and joined ITC in 1989.
Malik was earlier working with British American Tobacco before joining ITC. He has been instrumental in creating a wide array of brands like Aashirvaad, Sunfeast, Candyman, Kitchens of India, Mint-O and Bingo which have well-known names in the market.
“Malik brings with him valuable experience in several divisions in the FMCG businesses of ITC, including the incubation and development of successful brands in the foods business”, said an ITC spokesperson. He will be based out of Bengaluru, where the foods business is head quartered.
ITC is India's largest seller of branded foods with sales of over Rs. 4,600 crore in 2012-13. ITC Ltd sells 80 percent of the cigarettes in India, where 275 million people use tobacco products and the total cigarette market is worth close to $6 billion (around Rs.65,000 crore).