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Rediff.com  » Business » Castrol India is teaching BP how to sell

Castrol India is teaching BP how to sell

May 11, 2004 08:58 IST

Multinationals often pick talent for their worldwide operations from their Indian subsidiaries. The example of Unilever sourcing managers from Hindustan Lever is well known. What's not so well known, however, is the other big instance: the BP group, the world's second largest oil company.

Castrol India, the Indian arm of the BP group, has become a global hub for supplying marketing professionals to the group. Indian marketing professionals are revving up Castrol and BP lubes sales and using local marketing techniques to reach out to customers in 20 countries.

Yet overseas positions are not confined to BP's lubricants business alone. Indian professionals are being deployed at the wider BP group.

Naveen Kshatriya, managing director of Castrol India Ltd, told Business Standard that the BP group had been planning to replicate the Indian success story in marketing lubricants in other countries. About 250 managers are on international assignments to replicate the Indian marketing model.

Kshatriya, who will take over as regional vice-president of BP's transcontinental lubricant business in June (in addition to his present responsibility), joins the list of 28 top managers who have been posted in global markets, ranging from Algeria to America. Countries like Turkey, Iran and the African continent have been identified as markets where Indian expertise is required.

The positions occupied by professionals from Castrol India abroad range from directors to junior managerial roles across all functions -- finance, IT, supply chain, global health, safety, security and environment and, of course, marketing and sales. The current marketing director, lubricants, Asia Pacific region, global motorcycle oils space manager and global HSSE manager are all from Castrol India.

"Our talent has been recognised within the BP group and several of our managers have moved to other parts of the BP group," says Kshatriya. In fact, an Indian team is busy chalking out marketing plans for Iran and Turkey, where most of the vehicles available are not luxury cars and people still use entry level cars.

Kshatriya said the BP group was shifting focus from countries to regions where Castrol India would play a pivotal role in deciding resource allocation, overall team performance and strategic applications.

"We are moving away from the model of geography to market spaces. There are several similarities between different markets where consumer preferences are similar."

BP lube brands in India command a 10-12 per cent market share and Kshatriya is confident of increasing this to 15-17 per cent.
Hemangi Balse in Mumbai