Damodar Mall, President of the Foods Strategy Division at Future Group, has joined Reliance Retail where he will be responsible for customer strategy and key projects and will report to Manoj Modi. This move is in keeping with Reliance Retail's aggressive search for the right talent to lead its retail operations. Last year, the company had created a stir as it hired ex- Walmart executives Mr Rob Cissell and Mr Shawn Gray to spearhead its operations as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operations officer, respectively.
Damodar Mall, was seen as a close aide of Kishore Biyani and is one in a series of senior management departures at Future Group. Just last month, Sumit Dabriwala, managing director of Future Group's realty firm, Agre Developers, had quit. Both Mall and Dabriwala were in the eight-member executive committee board of Future Group. Upamanyu Bhattacharya CEO of Future Group's neighbourhood supermarket format KB's Fairprice, is also in exit mode and has been replaced by Arun Agarwal who was next in charge of operations. Bhattacharya is said to be moving out on an entrepreneurial venture. Vibha Rishi, who was the group strategy and consumer director, too, quit Future Group after a stint of two years to join insurance group Max India in April last year. Almost at the same time, Human Resources head Sanjay Jog left to join Reliance Retail aftter spending nearly seven years with Biyani. B Anand, finance director, too, had quit in June 2012 to join Dutch commodity trading and logistics company, Trafigura.
Damodar Mall, an IIT-Bombay and IIM-Bangalore alumnus, used to head Unilever's Sangam Direct, a home-delivery retail business, prior to joining Future Group. Mall was also a co-founder of D'Mart, a supermarket chain in Western India. As President Food Strategy, he was responsible for a number of food related businesses apart from overseeing rural retailing venture Aadhaar, small neighbourhood supermarket format KB's Fair Price and integrated food parks.
In recent months, Kishore Biyani has moved back into an operational role to lead Big Bazaar from the front. In fact, during the recent Republic Day- Sabse sasta week offer, Biyani is reported to have travelled across 12 cities within a week to get a direct insight of consumer behaviour in several Big Bazaar stores. In April 2012, Rakesh Biyani was promoted from Director to Joint Managing Director to take charge of the P&L account, supply-chain and distribution, and improve store profitability. Other managerial changes include appointing of Sadashiv Nayak as the chief executive of Big Bazaar supermarkets while ex-Coca-Cola director Devendra Chawla went on to head the overall food business, including buying and planning operations, at Big Bazaar. Sanjeev Agrawal, who was the joint CEO at Future Value Retail moved to head its joint venture firm Skechers South Asia Private Limited.