India CEO Sandeep Kataria replaces Alexis Nasard as Global CEO of Bata brands with immediate effect. Kataria will be the first Indian to head the 120-year-old footwear retailer Bata. The board of directors took the decision at a meeting on Monday. Ashwani Windlass will continue to be the chairman of Bata India Ltd and Rajeev Gopala Krishnan, its managing director. The company has not named a successor to Kataria as yet.
An engineer from IIT-Delhi and an XLR Jamshedpur alumnus, Kataria, who has previously worked at Unilever, Yum! Brands, KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell joined Bata India as CEO in 2017. The 49-year-old Kataria said: “I have been privileged to be part of Bata’s success in India, and I look forward to building further on our proud, more than 125-year history as shoemakers to the world. While 2020 has presented unique challenges, the appeal of our brands and the passion of our people provide every reason for confidence regarding our prospects in the years ahead.”
Kataria, who was tasked with the role of transforming the footwear giant into a modern contemporary brand for future generations, has helped drive its “consistent growth and profitability.”
A company statement said: “Under his leadership, Bata India doubled its profits driven by double-digit topline growth, and sponsored some of the most ingenious campaigns, including ‘Surprisingly Bata’ that revamped Bata’s image as a more vibrant and contemporary brand, targeted at younger customers.”
Bata is a family-owned business that is based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Founded by Tomas Bata, a Czech entrepreneur, in 1984, Bata became a favourite amongst the masses for its stylish footwear that came at reasonably affordable prices.
The brand, which started with the purpose to “shoe the world,” sells millions of pairs of shoes annually in over 5,800 stores.
Rising to the challenge posed by Covid-19, Bata launched Bata Heroes Initiative, a global CSR activity that utilises their production and manufacturing sites across the world to help in the fight against the virus. In India, Bata’s Batanagar factory-made and distributed more than 12,000 masks.