Leading Diageo’s Premium Drive

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Hina Nagarajan, 

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When Hina Nagarajan, CEO & MD, Diageo India, stepped into the shoes of her predecessor Anand Kripalu in 2021, her goal was clear—take the ₹27,815 crore business on path of unprecedented growth. From topline growth of 5% between FY16 and FY21, the business grew 9% in FY22 and 15% in FY23. “Topline of our P&A (prestige and above) portfolio grew at 8% CAGR during FY16-21, 13% in FY22 and 17% in FY23,” says Nagarajan. P&A contributes 86.4% to revenue. To push growth, Nagarajan divested 32 brands from mass portfolio for ₹828 crore. It also gave Inbrew franchise rights for 11 brands, including Bagpiper and Blue Riband, for five years. The mass segment contributed 19% to revenue, but the idea was to focus on premium and luxury portfolio, which today accounts for close to 85% revenues.
Trimming the mass portfolio made the company debt-free and allowed it to invest in premiumisation. Diageo acquired a 25% stake in Nao Spirits, which makes handcrafted gins Hapusa and Greater Than. The company recently launched a handcrafted single-malt whisky, Godawan, brewed in Alwar, Rajasthan. “There is a definite appreciation for high-quality, premium, mindful luxury offerings from India.”
Nagarajan, the first woman to lead an alcoholic beverage company in India, is also on board of global oil and gas major BP Plc. While Diageo’s executive team is 50% women, Nagarajan wants to ensure that 35% of the overall workforce comprises women within next three years. Nearly 35% of its top leaders are women. —Ajita Shashidhar