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    Meet Prabha Narasimhan, first external candidate to steer Colgate India in 12 years

    Meet Prabha Narasimhan, first external candidate to steer Colgate India in 12 years

    Meet Prabha Narasimhan, first external candidate to steer Colgate India in 12 years
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    By Amrita Das   IST (Updated)

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    Prabha Narasimhan was leading the sustainability initiatives for HUL. This experience is likely to come in handy at Colgate-Palmolive, which is trying to make it big in the naturals segment where it is competing against the likes of Dabur and Patanjali.

    Prabha Narasimhan, a former Hindustan Unilever (HUL) executive, will steer Colgate-Palmolive (India) as its new managing director and chief executive from September as Ram Raghavan moves to take over a role at the parent company.
    This is the FMCG company’s first hiring from outside the company at the top post in 12 years. The last time HUL hired from outside was in 2010, when it picked Mukul Deoras, also from HUL, to become MD of Colgate-Palmolive (India).
    Narasimhan joined HUL in January 2006 as a regional marketing manager before becoming a regional brand director for the company’s Lipton & Brooke Bond brands the next year, as per her LinkedIn profile.
    An Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore alumni, she rose through the ranks in HUL in over 15 years to become executive director for home care and vice-president, home care for Unilever, South Asia. Before HUL, she had a brief stint at Madura Garments as general manager, strategy.
    According to the HUL website, under Narasimhan’s leadership in 2016-19, HUL’s “skincare business delivered a spectacular market-beating growth rate”. She moved to the home care role in early 2020, according to the website.
    The website stated that she had over 23 years of experience across consumer marketing insights, customer development and marketing roles in multiple geographies and categories (beauty and personal care and refreshment).
    HUL also said Narasimhan was leading the sustainability initiatives for HUL. HUL is reformulating products like cleaning supplies with plant-based, green carbon ingredients as alternatives to fossil fuels.
    “She has contributed immensely towards embedding the clean future agenda into the home care product development strategy,” Sanjiv Mehta, CEO and MD, HUL, had said in a statement last week while announcing the management restructuring.
    For Narasimhan, this experience is likely to come in handy at Colgate-Palmolive, which is also trying to make it big in the naturals segment where it is competing against the likes of Dabur and Patanjali.
    While launching India’s first recyclable toothpaste tube last year, Colgate said the company was focused on bringing world-class sustainable innovation to not only improve oral care but also work towards preserving the environment.
    Nomura said Colgate-Palmolive getting top management from outside highlighted that the change in guard indicated renewed efforts to regain share.
    According to JP Morgan key priorities for the new CEO include accelerating revenue growth for the oral care business. Strengthening non-oral care portfolio positioning will be one of the focus areas, it said.
    Ram Raghavan, the current MD and CEO, has been promoted as president (enterprise oral care) for Colgate-Palmolive Company and will be based at the New York headquarters.
    Remaining cautious of the company’s growth prospects in the medium-term, Nomura has a ‘buy’ call with a target price of Rs 1,700. JP Morgan, meanwhile, has a ‘neutral’ rating on Colgate shares with a target price of Rs 1,580.
    After moving up by 2 percent in intra-day trade and then slipping into the red, Colgate-Palmolive (India) stock ended the day up 0.38 percent at Rs 1,503.00.
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