It is a testing time for Geetu Verma, Vice President, Foods (South Asia business), at Hindustan Unilever (HUL). The company's packaged food business is facing competition from local players and food entrepreneurs who are pioneering new models of communication, logistics and go-to-market strategy. Demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax have also impacted this space.
The key imperative for Verma is to keep product quality, price accessibility and availability steady as the South Asia foods business is growing at double digits. In India, HUL has relaunched its noodles portfolio with three global flavours and further added to its range of soups. As for the heritage Kissan brand, she has taken initiatives to ensure its global expansion.
Verma, aged 50, has more than 25 years of marketing, business and innovation experience in leading FMCG firms - P&G, Seagram and PepsiCo in India and Europe. She joined HUL in November 2011 and is responsible for its foods portfolio comprising Kissan and Knorr packaged foods.
She has crafted a new strategy with more emphasis on agile innovation and more relevant business models, for the nascent but fast-growing packaged food segment. Then there is further opportunity in mini meals and healthier-eating space. This year, HUL's performance has been recognised by ATNI (Access to Nutrition Index) as part of the India spotlight Index, where it ranked No. 2 for both corporate and product profiles.
Verma also mentors young women managers and raises funds for underprivileged children suffering from life-threatening illnesses. ~
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