Bata Appoints an Indian Global CEO for the first time in its 126-year-old history

The Bata Shoe Organization has named its India chief executive officer (CEO), Sandeep Kataria, as its global CEO. The event took place on November 30, 2020. Kataria would be the first-ever Indian in the 126-year-old history of Bata. He would be replacing Alexis Nasard, who is stepping down after about five years of service.

For Switzerland-based Bata, India is the biggest market by revenue among the other 70 markets where it is actively selling footwear. Rajeev Gopala Krishnan remains the Managing Director of Bata India Ltd whereas Ashwani Windlass will remain to be the chairman. Therefore the company did not name a successor to Kataria.

Kataria worked for almost two decades in Unilever. Also previously he was the chief commercial officer of Vodafone India Ltd. Hence in his 25-year career, Kataria has worked across large consumer-facing businesses. Kataria joined Bata in August 2017 as its CEO. He also has a history of working with Yum! Brands, which operates the popular KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants.

Kataria joined Bata when the company was renovating its stores and adding new designs in India. This was done to gain the attention of the youth towards Bata, this task was successfully completed by Kataria. As the CEO of Bata India, Kataria helped double its profits, the corporate said in a recent statement. In India, Bata was started in 1931 as Bata Shoe Co. Pvt. Ltd and has since become synonymous with middle-class consumption. As of March this year, Bata has 1,558 retail stores across India, including franchise partners. In 2020, the company has sold around 49.4 million pairs of footwear within the country.

“I would like to congratulate Sandeep on his well-deserved promotion. Over the past few years, the India team has delivered exceptional growth in footwear volume, revenue and profit, and has strengthened Bata’s customer measures in a highly competitive footwear market. The Bata Group and Bata India both stand to benefit greatly from Sandeep’s extensive experience,” Windlass said.

The company was founded in Czechoslovakia in 1894 and is currently based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Bata continues to be a family-owned business, trading around 180 million pairs of shoes yearly in 5,800 stores with 22 Bata-owned production facilities. It has 35,000 employees worldwide.

Kataria joins the growing organisation of Indians who have risen to require on Global Executive Roles, including Google’s Sundar Pichai, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, IBM’s Arvind Krishna, Reckitt Benckiser’s Laxman Narasimhan and Mastercard’s Ajay Banga.