SP ‘Bobby’ Mustafa has taken charge as Hindustan Lever Ltd’s (HLL) group treasurer and head of M&A -- a critical post at the consumer products multinational -- with effect from June 1, 2002.
Mr Mustafa, who was commercial controller (detergents) at HLL, replaces Mr Prince Asirvatham, who sought early retirement.
Mr Asirvatham, who served 26 years with the fast-moving consumer goods major, decided to pursue his personal interests in social service and corporate governance. Mr Asirvatham has headed treasury & M&A at HLL for about four years.
Mr Mustafa has also served a stint earlier with the erstwhile Pond’s India Ltd as vice-president (finance and personnel). He had taken over from Mr Vishwanathan as group controller in charge of finance.
In fact, the post of group treasurer and head of M&A was created at a time when HLL has been involved in hectic M&A activity. It had merged Brooke Bond Lipton India Ltd (BBLIL) into HLL; Pond’s India was being merged into HLL; and the company was acquiring Lakme’s stake in the joint venture company Lakme-Lever Ltd.
Inorganic growth has been an integral part of HLL’s strategy. The company recently acquired a majority stake in Modern Foods. In 2001, the amalgamation of International Bestfoods with HLL was confirmed by the Mumbai High Court.
The merger resulted in a power brand, Knorr, joining the company’s stable, and strengthening the culinary business. The turnover of Knorr doubled in 2001, and its profitability was improved by streamlining the supply chain and restructuring some of its operations. This merger coincided with the amalgamation of yet another wholly-owned subsidiary of the company, Aviance, to consolidate its personal products range with that of HLL’s personal products business, thereby, facilitating long-term growth while realising the benefits of greater synergies between these overlapping businesses.
Last year, Rossell Industries, which has seven tea gardens spread over a planted area in excess of 3,000 hectares, became a subsidiary of HLL consequent to Lipton India Export Ltd, a 100 per cent subsidiary of HLL raising its shareholding in Rossel Industries.