He cut his (milk?) teeth at Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) as a senior sales executive. Now, 29 years later, Rupinder Singh Sodhi has formally taken the reins of the organisation, better known for its Amul brand of dairy products.
Not that he is new to the job – he’s been doing it for seven months as acting MD after the abrupt resignation of MD B M Vyas. It’s been a trial by fire for Sodhi, who kept GCMMF on an even keel, even as it lurched through a crisis, with a section of directors demanding the resignation of Parthi Bhatol, chairman of the federation.
The period also saw mounting pressure on farmers in the wake of spiralling cattle feed and fodder prices. Despite that, GCMMF’s sales grow 25 per cent to Rs 8,005 crore. Not surprisingly, a seven-member committee formed to hire an MD unanimously decided to confirm Sodhi in the position.
A BE in agriculture from the College of Technology & Agriculture Engineering, Udaipur, and a first-batch (1982) graduate from Institute of Rural Management, Anand (Irma), Sodhi has risen from the ranks at GCMMF.
At his first job as senior sales executive in Jaipur, Sodhi was tasked with taking over the sales and marketing activities from Voltas, which used to distribute products on behalf of GCMMF, and establish the federation's own network. Having proved his mettle there, Sodhi went on to become group product manager, moving to the corporate office in Anand, Gujarat.
During his stint with GCMMF Sodhi served in frontline sales, as a marketing professional at branch, zonal and national levels as assistant general manager, and later went on to become chief general manager. He is credited with creating the current structure at GCMMF, enabling it to retain its dominance of this Indian dairy industry.
Under his supervision, Amul's product portfolio also saw rapid expansion. He spearheaded some of its most creative advertising campaigns, including the launch of Amul ice-cream and Amul milk.
As a contribution to his alma mater, Sodhi has been part of the visiting faculty at Irma for more than two decades and has been a popular speaker at International and national seminars.