Emami founders step down, give way to next generation

Effective 1 April 2022, Harsha V Agarwal (45) and Mohan Goenka (49), sons of the two co-founders and currently whole-time directors at the company, will take over as vice chairman and managing director and vice chairman and whole-time director, respectively, subject to shareholder approval, Emami said in a regulatory filing. 

Harsha is the son of RS Agarwal, while Mohan is RS Goenka’s son.

The decision comes in the wake of a board restructuring that was part of the succession planning at the 2,881 crore Kolkata-based fast-moving consumer goods company which sells brands such as Navratna cooling oil, BoroPlus, Fair & Handsome, Zandu Balm, and Mentho Plus.

Founders Agarwal and Goenka have decided to step down from their executive positions as they hand over the business to the next generation. They will remain on the company’s board.

The board has unanimously appointed RS Goenka as non-executive chairman, while RS Agarwal has been re-designated as the chairman emeritus effective 1 April. Both the founders will not accept any emoluments from the company for their new positions.

Meanwhile, Sushil Kumar Goenka, brother of RS Goenka, has decided to step down from his position as managing director, as part of the transition process; he has been re-appointed as whole-time director of the company.

In 2020-21, Sushil Kumar Goenka was reappointed as managing director at the company for a period of five years.

Harsha V Agarwal, the younger son of RS Agarwal who co-leads the FMCG business, is a key member of the group’s core advisory team. He has steered the company’s investments into brands such as Zandu, Kesh King and Creme 21. Mohan Goenka, the eldest son of RS Goenka, is a management graduate from Cardiff University, the UK. Goenka co-leads the FMCG business; he too is a key member of the core advisory team.

“Mohan Goenka and Harsha V Agarwal, whole-time directors of Emami Ltd., have been serving the business dedicatedly for over two decades, spearheading multiple functions and growing the business successfully thereby gaining immense exposure to steer the organisation forward,” the company said in a filing to the exchanges.

Mohan Goenka and Harsha V Agarwal have been at the forefront of running and growing the organisation for over two decades and their ascension today is the formal recognition of their contribution by our esteemed board, said the founders in a joint statement.

Harsha has been appointed for a period of five years, while Mohan Goenka’s appointment is for the remaining period of his tenure i.e. up to 14 January, 2026.

India’s fast moving consumer goods market is fast evolving, facing challenges from emerging direct-to-consumer brands, a shift in trade channels as well as large companies such as Hindustan Unilever stepping up their appetite for investments.

On Thursday, the company also reported its December quarter earnings. Emami posted a 5% year-on-year rise in its December quarter profit to 220 crore, while revenues grew 4% to 972 crore.

The company was founded in 1974 and started manufacturing cosmetic products as well as Ayurvedic medicines under the brand name of Emami from a small office in Kolkata’s business district of Burra Bazar.

Subsequently, brands such as BoroPlus antiseptic cream and Navratna cool oil were launched in the 80s and 90s, in competition with heavyweights such as Hindustan Unilever.

In 2008, Emami acquired Zandu Pharmaceuticals Works Ltd. In June 2015, Emami acquired the hair and scalp care business of ‘Kesh King’ for 1,684 crore. The group’s interest span fast moving consumer goods, real estate, paper, edible oil, biodiesel, hospitals, real estate and retail, among others.