Moving from the pharmaceutical industry into FMCG, Sanofi’s director - business HR, Pharma & Consumer Healthcare, Rohit Kumar has recently joined Kellogg India as the director HR (CHRO). Kumar, who joined Kellogg on 28 December, is based out of Mumbai and will be responsible for heading HR for the India market.
His new role at Kellogg entails enabling the company to grow further taking it to the next level in the market by energising the workforce, identifying the required capabilities and putting forth compelling plans ensuring that they are executed well.
Speaking of his new role, Kumar says, “Kellogg currently has around 60 per cent of share in the Indian breakfast category, where a lot of action is also happening with new players coming in. So it’s going to be an interesting journey. We need to shape the organisation to take on the challenges, analyse capabilities and gear up for the market.”
Kumar, a management graduate from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, began his career with Apollo Tyres in 1996 and then moved to Gillette as the manager-HR in 1998. He then switched to the telecom sector, joining Vodafone as the head-HR, Rajasthan in 2004. He grew through ranks at Vodafone and was elevated as the head-global talent & people capability in 2008. Growing further, he left Vodafone in 2014 as the AVP - human resources (HRBP-technology), post which he joined Sanofi.
After working with Gillette back in 1998, his comeback to FMCG with Kellogg is an interesting move. In his own words, “The excitement of the HR profession is that it is industry agnostic in some sense, and if you have the opportunity to work cross-industry, it helps build new perspectives and learn a lot of new things.”
However, there are certain differences in industries as Kumar explains, “Pharma is totally different from FMCG, while telecom is a mix of various aspects, such as in a service industry— customer orientation and so on. FMCG is a stable and steady industry, and while the tried and tested methods definitely work in FMCG, there is always excitement of doing more, adopting new platforms and reaching out to the customer for innovating and embracing new practices.”
Having worked across geographies and cultures in India and experienced an international stint in the UK, Kumar brings an expertise in HR business partnering and proficiency in organisation effectiveness & change, talent management, employee relations and the ability to shape the HR agenda relevant to business needs.
Kumar shares, “I am excited to be part of a journey where, as part of the leadership, I am responsible for making things happen and taking the company to the next level of growth.”
With regard to his talent strategy at Kellogg, Kumar shares that the major focus will be on a build and buy strategy. “Although there is no immediate ramp-up on the cards, we will surely look at bringing in digital skills and at the same time judiciously deploy the available talent to maximise RoI,” he adds.