US coffee chain Starbucks will open its first outlet in India next month through partnership with Tata Global Beverages, and has appointed Avani Saglani Davda as CEO of their joint venture.
Tata Starbucks Ltd, the 50/50 joint venture between Starbucks Coffee Co and Tata Global Beverages Ltd, will open the first store in India in the Horniman Circle area of Mumbai by the end of October 2012, the company said in a statement.
"The store will also be the first Starbucks location to feature espresso sourced and roasted locally from India through the coffee sourcing and roasting agreement with Tata Coffee Ltd," it said.
In January, the two companies announced plans to open 50 Starbucks cafes in India in the first year of operations entailing an investment of Rs 400 crore (Rs 4 billion). They had said the first outlet will be opened by this August or September.
Commenting on the latest development, Starbucks China and Asia Pacific President John Culver said: "We are delighted to be able to announce our progress toward opening our first store in India and to introduce locally sourced espresso."
He said using coffee sourced and roasted in India "is the first step Starbucks and Tata Coffee Ltd are taking toward developing and improving the profile of Indian-grown Arabica coffees around the world by elevating the stature of Indian coffee, as well as improving the quality of coffee through sustainable practices."
Tata Global Beverages CEO, Harish Bhat said the joint venture is in line with the company's strategy of growing through strategic alliances in addition to organic growth.
Avani will now head the operations of the joint venture. Most recently, she worked in the Vice Chairman's office for Tata Global Beverages, where she was responsible for driving and facilitating key strategies and initiatives for the company as well as marketing and business development assignments, the company said.
"She also played a pivotal role in the development of the joint venture relationship between the two companies in preparation for entry into the India market," it added.
Avani had earlier worked for the Tata companies for more than ten years, joined the Tata Group as a TAS (Tata Administrative Service) probationer in 2002.
She will report to the Board of Directors for Tata Starbucks Ltd.
"Continuing to be based in Mumbai, her appointment is effective immediately," the company said.