There has been a sudden change at the helm at Diageo Plc, the world’s largest spirits company known for brands like Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff, with high-profile Asif Adil, its managing director, leaving to make way for an expatriate to take charge.
Diageo said on Thursday that Ronald Abella will replace Adil, who joined in June 2006. It said Adil “has left the business to pursue new horizons,” but speculation mounted on the sudden exit around whether it was linked to any flaw in his performance.
Adil’s exit came during a visit to Mumbai by John Pollaers, President, Diageo Asia-Pacific, and the statement of his move carried no mention lauding him, as is usual in amicable corporate separations.
Adil confirmed to Hindustan Times there was a “separation agreement,” and dismissed any adverse speculation on the cause of his exit as “false, baseless and malicious.”
He said he had quit Diageo on his own after accomplishing set targets and had several options to pursue.
“When I came into Diageo, I was given lot of targets to meet. Having delivered the accomplishments it is time to move on. It is a great move at the time of recession which opens up new opportunities for people like me,” Adil said.
Pollers said India represented a tremendous growth opportunity for Diageo. “Over the last two years we have taken significant strides in expanding our distribution and developing our brand presence in India,” he said.