The Bata Shoe Organisation on Monday named its India chief executive Sandeep Kataria as the global CEO. Kataria, the first Indian to head the 120-year-old retailer, replaces Alexis Nasard, who is stepping down after about five years.
Ashwani Windlass will continue to be the chairman of Bata India Ltd, while Rajeev Gopala Krishnan remains the managing director. The company did not name a successor to Kataria.
Kataria will oversee operations across 70 markets where the Lausanne, Switzerland-based Bata sells footwear.
Kataria joined Bata in August 2017 as its CEO after serving as the chief commercial officer of Vodafone India Ltd. In his nearly 25-year career, Kataria has worked across large consumer-facing businesses, including Unilever where he spent nearly two decades. He also worked with Yum! Brands, which runs the popular KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants.
Kataria holds a post graduate diploma in business management from the prestigious XLRI, Jamshedpur.
Kataria joined Bata when the company was renovating its stores and adding new designs to appeal to younger shoe shoppers in India. A task he has since furthered.
As the chief executive of Bata India, Kataria helped double its profits, the company said in a statement.
In India, Bata was set up in 1931 as Bata Shoe Co. Pvt. Ltd and has since become synonymous with middle-class consumption.
As of March, the retailer has 1,558 retail stores across India, including franchise partners. In FY20, the company sold 49.4 million pairs of footwear in the country.
“I would like to congratulate Sandeep on his well-deserved promotion. Over the past few years, the India team has delivered exceptional growth in footwear volume, revenue and profit, and has strengthened Bata’s customer measures in a highly competitive footwear market. The Bata Group and Bata India both stand to benefit greatly from Sandeep’s extensive experience,” Windlass said.
The company was founded in Czechoslovakia in 1894 and is currently based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Bata remains a family owned business selling more than 180 million pairs of shoes annually in 5,800 stores with 22 Bata-owned manufacturing facilities. Bata operates in more than 70 countries and has 35,000 employees.
Kataria joins the growing league of Indians who have risen to take on global roles including Google’s Sundar Pichai Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, IBM’s Arvind Krishna, Reckitt Benckiser Laxman Narasimhan and Mastercard’s Ajay Banga.