Ex-head of Kellogg India joins Coca-Cola India

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BOMBAY -- Damindra Dias, the erstwhile managing director of Kellogg India who left the company over policy differences, has joined Coca-Cola India.

"I am pleased to announce that Damindra Dias is joining us as the deputy director of finance," Coca-Cola India Executive Director Richard Nicholas said in a company communique leaked to a local newspaper.

Dias, a naturalized Canadian from Sri Lanka, left Kellogg in June last year after spearheading the cereal marketer's foray into India in September 1994. Disagreements with Kellogg's Asia-Pacific management in Australia over pricing and marketing strategies led to her resignation. She staunchly opposed an increase in product prices and the adoption of Kellogg's international model to penetrate a maverick market like India.

Since its debut two years ago, Kellogg India has not only doubled the cereal market to an estimated $4m, but also garnered a 53% share in a country fond of hot and fat-filled breakfasts.

A veteran of the Battle Creek, Michigan-based Kellogg Co. for 17 years, Dias has mostly handled finance in her various posts, including her stint in Bombay, until she was promoted to country head.

Her shift to Coca-Cola India coincides with the U.S. soft drinks giant's plans to invest $740m in India, which was recently approved by the government. Coca-Cola is India's No.1 soft drinks company, but is under severe threat from rival Pepsi which is narrowing the gap in market share terms.

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