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Rediff News  All News  » Business » Raghu Pillai quits as RPG retail head

Raghu Pillai quits as RPG retail head

May 12, 2005 06:30 IST

The retail business of RPG Enterprises has a new head honcho -- Sumantra Banerjee, formerly managing director, CESC. Raghu Pillai, who headed the business, had ended his stint on Tuesday.

According to sources, Pillai's resignation was accepted and the separation was cordial. He had a reputation of being a manager who delegated and followed a somewhat hands-off approach which was not in sync with the frantic pace of growth of the close-to Rs 1,000 crore (Rs 10 billion) business.

The sources said Banerjee would hold charge of the retail business till a suitable replacement was found for Pillai.

The search for an ideal replacement has already been initiated and both placement firms and direct contacts are being put to use for the purpose, said the sources.

Pillai was not available for comment.

Earlier, there were reports that Pillai was quitting RPG Retail. However, he had denied any such move at that time.

The RPG business empire was being managed at present by the brothers, Harsh Goenka, based in Mumbai, and Sanjeev Goenka, based in Kolkata.

The retail business had its headquarters at Chennai but industry sources said they expected it to be shifted to Kolkata to suit operational needs.

Sanjeev Goenka was not available for comment as he was travelling.

Pillai's departure comes at a time when the retail business in India is witnessing a strong growth and also some turmoil.

RPG Enterprises recently ended its long association with Dairy Farm International (DFI), a Hongkong-based company linked to the Jardine Matheson group, after a six-year alliance.

The alliance used to run the Rs 350-odd crore (Rs 3.50 billion) food business through 93 Foodworld stores of which RPG would get 48 and DFI 45.

The RPG owned food stores would not be operated under the Spencers brand.

However, the existing laws governing the retail sector bar DFI from owning the business wholly and it would be compelled to induct an Indian partner to run the food stores.

There have been rumours that the Tata retail business, which operates Westside stores under the Trent management team, could come in but these could not be confirmed.

Tata Sons and Jardine have a long investment relationship and this was understood to be driving such reports.

BS Bureau in Kolkata