India: United Breweries Limited appoints new CEO
Vivek Gupta fills the vacant position following the resignation of Rishi Pardal
United Breweries Limited (UBL), better known by the brand name of its flagship beer, Kingfisher and since 2021 part of the Heineken Company (inside.beer, 30.7.2021), has appointed Vivek Gupta as Managing Director and CEO effective 25 September 2023. United Breweries Limited (UBL).
In February, Heineken announced that the company's former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Rishi Pardal, had tendered his resignation on February 16, 2023. He assumed his role in June 2020, approximately one year before Heineken took control of the company. He was relieved from the services of the company on May 4, 2023.
Gupta, the new CEO, is an engineering graduate with a Master’s in business management from IIM, Ahmedabad. Aged 47 years, he is a unique executive with homegrown India and global commercial and leadership experience. He is lacking business experience in the beverage industry but brings solid and broad experience from commercial and leadership roles in MNCs and new-age start-ups, both in international markets and India, which feeds his deep knowledge of go-to-market channels and understanding of operating complex businesses in traditional and digital environments.
Gupta spent over two decades in leadership and commercial roles at P&G, working across various categories, from everyday consumption to premium categories. His last position with P&G was as Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand. He joins UBL from one of India’s fastest-growing unicorn, Udaan.com. As Chief Business Officer, he helped build India’s most significant and disruptive e-B2B business.
Along with the UBL leadership team, Gupta will be responsible for driving sustainable growth for the company. He will lead the premiumization of UBL’s portfolio, including strengthening the iconicity of the Kingfisher brand.
Jacco van der Linden, Regional President APAC of Heineken, and Member of the UBL Board, said: “We are thrilled to have Vivek lead UBL at such a critical time. We recognize his resilience in building businesses and brands at a fast pace and in a complex environment. He brings solid global experience deeply rooted in India and has had substantial success in commercial and complex companies in traditional and digital environments.
Anand Kripalu, an Independent Member of UBL’s Board of Directors, comments: “On behalf of the Board, we welcome Vivek, a youthful and yet seasoned leader for UBL. Embracing innovation and respecting tradition, our incoming CEO is the perfect blend. His leadership promises to be refreshing - with the potential to transform and leave a lasting impression on the Indian beer industry.”
Vivek Gupta, incoming Managing Director and CEO of UBL concludes: “It is an honor to stand on the shoulders of greatness and lead UBL into the future. I feel privileged to be entrusted with one of India’s most iconic brands, the Kingfisher beer and the world’s most international brand, Heineken. I look forward to the journey ahead with the UBL leadership and our colleagues as we brew greatness together.”