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India’s Godrej Consumer Products Names CEO

Nisaba Godrej, who already serves as chairperson of the board, will take on the added role of ceo on July 1.

NEW DELHI — Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. — one of the 50 largest beauty companies in the world, according to the WWD Beauty Inc Top 100 and the maker of skin-care line Cinthol, hair colors and a range of soaps — has named Nisaba Godrej chief executive officer and managing director.

Godrej will take up her new role on July 1. She is already executive chairperson of the board of directors, and will remain so.

Her father, Adi Godrej, is chairman of the $4.7 billion Godrej Group, of which GCPL is a subsidiary.

Vivek Gambhir, 51, who has been ceo and managing director since 2013, has resigned for personal reasons. During his seven-year tenure, the company has doubled net profits and expanded across markets, especially in Asia and Africa.

“For the past many years, I have been living away from my family and seeing them only on weekends. Recently, I had some health problems that made me think more deeply about my lifestyle. Thankfully, I have fully recovered. I would now like to be able to spend more time with my family,” Gambhir said in a statement.

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The price of Godrej’s shares fell when Nisaba Godrej was named ceo and managing director of the consumer products company.

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“Markets were nervous when her name was announced, but they were unduly nervous,” said Harish Bijoor, a brand strategist and head of Harish Bijoor Consults in Bengaluru. “There is one outlook that says ‘from a professional leadership, back to the family.’ I would not look at it that way. Instead, I would say it is a forward step because Nisaba holds the mantle not only because of the name — she has watched the company very closely, center stage from board positions.

“In addition to that, if you look at GCPL, it is a strategy-led piece of work. Everything that was done was with the purpose of a 10-year plan. The last several years have seen that plan go very well. I don’t see why that should not go on track,” Bijoor said.

Nisaba Godrej’s appointment is also a step forward in another way, naming a woman to head a large Indian consumer products company.

As Lloyd Mathias, business strategist and angel investor, pointed out, the timing is good.

“I think it is a good sign to have a woman leader in the consumer goods space. Godrej is large and relevant and specifically in view of what’s been happening in the last three months in terms of COVID-19 – there is a need for empathy and purpose in business. I think women leaders could address this issue far more sensitively,” he observed.

Mathias added that “Nisaba has actually immersed herself in the business over the past few years, so it is not like an outside appointee. She’s part of the family, but she’s done her time in an executive role. For me it sounds like a very sensible appointment, I wouldn’t see it in nepotistic terms,” he said.

Nisaba — Nisa to those who know her — has a bachelor’s degree from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s of business administration from Harvard Business School.