coca-cola: Coca-Cola re-interviews India employees to realign roles in sweeping revamp

New Delhi: In a rare instance for India Inc., Coca-Cola is re-interviewing employees across functions and roles as the country’s biggest beverage maker restructures operations after a pandemic that took a significant toll on its business. A Coca-Cola India spokesperson confirmed the exercise.

“Coca-Cola is on a journey to transform how it operates so it can emerge stronger from the pandemic and accelerate growth. There will likely be new opportunities available for our existing associates… this process is under way,” the spokesperson said.

“A process is being carried out across Coca-Cola to realign profiles and re-interview people in their current roles… this will also result in some roles being called out as redundant,” a senior executive directly aware of the developments said.

Starting January 1 this year, Coca-Cola India has new heads of marketing, franchise, strategy, finance and HR, all of whom will report to Sanket Ray, who succeeded T Krishnakumar as the company’s president.

“This is rare in India – re-interviewing people in their current roles is a way of realigning talent in challenging times and is also a way of letting go of people,” said K Sudarshan, managing director of executive search firm EMA Partners.

Two decades ago, the Tata Group had re-interviewed employees, but a large-scale exercise such as this is rare, search firm executives said. Coca-Cola India has about 200 employees.

The Atlanta-based beverage giant said late last year that it will slash about 2,200 jobs globally as it kicks off a sweeping restructuring exercise accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic. More than half of the company’s sales typically come from outside the home – in hotels, restaurants and bars, airports and trains, movie theatres and other entertainment centres, all of which were shut down or severely impacted as a result of multiple lockdowns.

As part of the restructuring exercise, Coca-Cola has created new operating units focused on regional and local execution to work closely with five marketing category leadership teams, a structure that will be supported by the company’s newly created platform services organisation.

The beverage maker currently has 17 business units that is reducing to nine to help streamline operations by replacing current business units and groups. The operating units will be interconnected with more consistency in structure and a focus on eliminating duplication of resources and scaling up new products more quickly.

However, Coca-Cola’s sales in India picked up in the quarter ended December with the opening up of restaurants and higher at-home consumption. The recovery was led by changes such as a shift to larger in-home packs and higher consumption in rural and tier-2 and 3 markets that were spared the brunt of lockdown-induced disruptions.

The peak lockdown months coincided with the April-June quarter, which contributes more than half of the packaged beverages industry’s annual sales of over Rs 20,000 crore. The segment lost 40% of its annual sales.

[Source – Economic Times]


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