Three years after taking over as chief executive officer of Tata Starbucks, Sumitro Ghosh will make way for Navin Gurnaney, who will become CEO of the company effective January 1. Gurnaney will be the third CEO of Tata Starbucks in six years. The JV first opened its store in October 2012 under Avani Davda, the youngest CEO then within the Tata group. She quit in December 2015 to make way for Ghosh in January 2016.
On Wednesday, Tata Starbucks, the 50:50 joint venture between Tata Global Beverages and Seattle-based Starbucks Corporation, said Ghosh was returning to the US to pick up a role within the Starbucks organisation. The company did not give any more details about Ghosh's new role, adding he had contributed significantly to the growth of Tata Starbucks at a time when the domestic coffee retail market has seen competition grow.
While leader Cafe Coffee Day has consolidated its position with over 1,700 stores, McCafe from McDonald's and Starbucks have steadily added stores in the last two years even as Barista has scaled down operations. In August, Coca-Cola globally acquired Costa Coffee in a $5.1-billion transaction, with plans to rejuvenate the brand here.
Under Ghosh, Tata Starbucks has added nearly 50 stores to take its count to 128 across seven cities. The company also narrowed losses and improved turnover during the period. For the 2017-18 financial year (FY18), Tata Starbucks' topline was nearly Rs 3.5 billion, a year-on-year growth of 28 per cent, with losses down to Rs 300 million from Rs 320 million over the previous period. FY18 also saw Tata Starbucks report its first operating profit, according to Tata Global's annual report for the year.
Ghosh was also responsible for introducing a number of menu innovations and pushed digital aggressively in line with Starbucks' global strategy.
Like Ghosh, Gurnaney has worked extensively in the US at Starbucks, having joined the organisation in 2004. He will return to India from Atlanta, Georgia, to take up his new position.
"I look forward to elevating the mission and values of the company through delivering the iconic Starbucks experience for our Indian partners and customers," he said in a statement.
Ajoy Misra, managing director and chief executive officer, Tata Global Beverages, said Gurnaney was the right person to build on the momentum created by Ghosh. "He is a seasoned leader, who is focused on operations excellence, relevant innovation and developing high-performing teams," Misra said.