Sunil Alagh to step down as Britannia MD, CEO next year

Mumbai: Sunil Alagh, managing director and CEO of Britannia Industries, has put weeks of speculation to rest by clarifying that he would leave when his current contract expires in February 2004.

Britannia Industries in a statement has said: "The company has been notified by Alagh that he is not seeking to extend his current contract. This matter would be considered by the board of directors at its next was meeting to be held in early June 2003."

Alagh, 56, joined Britannia in December 1974 from Jagatjit Industries, where he was product manager (marketing services). Alagh is credited with Britannia''s growth over the years to being India''s largest biscuit company. Under Alagh, Britannia has gone through two successful restructuring processes.

First in the late 1990s when Britannia went through a major re-haul with the help of Shombit Sengupta''s Shining Consulting, which saw the company getting strongly positioned on the health platform. More recently, Britannia spun off its dairy business into a joint venture with New Zealand-based Fonterra Dairy.

For the quarter ended December 2002, Britannia posted sales of Rs 332 crore with a net profit of Rs 25 crore. Britannia Industries has in a statement said: "There has been much speculation on matters relating to the acquisition of Kwality Biscuits over two years ago and charges relating to such acquisition. The company policy is not to respond to baseless and false speculation."

There has been much speculation in recent times that Jeh Wadia, the younger son of promoter Nusli Wadia, may join the company though Britannia has denied this. Jeh is currently the deputy managing director of Bombay Burmah Corporation, while elder brother Ness is the deputy managing director of group flagship Bombay Dyeing.