The Bajaj Group is close to finalising a new chief executive officer (CEO) for its consumer goods wing — Bajaj Consumer Care (BCC) — with group chairman Kushagra Bajaj disclosing that the company has narrowed down its field of candidates to two persons.
“We are almost on the verge of finalising between them, and hopefully the new CEO should join by January of 2020,” Bajaj told a group of analysts this week.
Appointing a new CEO is a critical task for the company, which is in the midst of implementing a three-pronged strategy to boost growth in its flagship hair oils business, for which it had hired consulting agency Bain in April this year.
“(The CEO) has to be completely aligned with this strategy and that’s non-negotiable. We have explicitly discussed this in great detail (with the candidates),” Bajaj said, adding that the modalities of compensation and other details were being worked out.
The new strategy, aimed at clocking double-digit growth and doubling its market share in the hair oils segment, seems to be paying off for the company already in the one state where it has chosen to test it: West Bengal.
According to Bajaj, since its implementation on July 11, BCC has seen its primary sales expand in double digits in the state even as overall industry sales have contracted. BCC’s primary sales grew at 19 per cent, 15 per cent and 10 per cent over July, August and September, against the industry’s 2 per cent, minus 3 per cent and minus 6 per cent respectively. Secondary sales grew even faster at an overall 19 per cent over the three months.
“We can’t say that we have succeeded in our strategy, but the initial signs are very, very positive and inspiring..,”Bajaj added.
Meanwhile, the company will be going ahead and rolling out the game plan in a new state from November 1, with a pan-India rollout planned for the first quarter of financial year 2019-20 if things work out as well as in West Bengal.
The implementation will see the company’s advertising and marketing spends increase substantially.
“Today, we spend between 16-18 per cent on advertising and sales promotion. We could increase this to as much as 23-24 per cent now. This might mean that we may sacrifice on margins once we go pan-India, but we are okay with that as long as we increase our market share. The aim is to double it from 10 per cent to 20 per cent,” the company said.